Motorcycle crashes rise on roads surrounding Buffalo National River
PONCA, Ark. (KY3) - Following a deadly crash on Sunday, rangers at the Buffalo National River headquarters say eight people have died in motorcycle crashes in 2022.
The Arkansas State Police identified the latest victim of Sunday’s crash as Clifton Caughron, 71, of Yukon, Oklahoma. The crash happened on Arkansas Highway 7 at Newton County Road 3050 in Jasper. Investigators say Caughron’s motorcycle crossed the centerline and struck a trailer being pulled by another vehicle in the opposite lane.
Rangers with BNR say October is the busiest month for motorcyclists around north central Arkansas. They want to remind the public to abide by the speed limit and slow down along sharp turns.
“As fall colors and crisp weather emerge, motorcyclists flock to enjoy the winding roads of the Ozarks Mountains. Please drive cautiously,” said BNR headquarters in a release Monday.
Leaders in north Arkansas say increased motorcycle traffic will be noticeable over the next month, starting this weekend with Bike Fest’s Ride the Ozarks Rally in Harrison.
“A lot of the locals know about blind spots and corners and intersections. A lot of these motorcyclists coming in from out of town, they’re not aware of it,” said Matt Bell, the event coordinator. “They’re not trying to get in your way. They’re trying to react to the situation that they’re not normally accustomed to.”
Bell says during the event, there has never been a participant fatality.
“This time of year being fall they’re coming out in the droves, so we see a lot of motorcycle traffic through the entire month of October,” he said.
Rick Vermuelen is a local biker who provides guided rides during events like Ride the Ozarks Rally, he knows best why people come to experience rides around the Buffalo.
“We have the scenery and people say it’s bike nirvana because you have so many curves and twisty roads,” said Vermeulen. “As a motorcyclist its a two way street: you have to look for cars and cars have to look for you.”
The biggest draw to the Buffalo National river also creates dangers for cyclists and drivers alike-- that’s why he likes to lead groups on roads he is familiar with, which most out-of-towners do not.
“Look twice. You will save a life. That’s second luck,” said Vermeulen,. “You may not see them the first time you look, but that second time you may go, ‘Oh wow, where did he come from.’”
Scheduled events for the Ride the Ozarks Rally: https://www.exploreharrison.com/attractions/ride-the-ozarks-rally/.
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