Good news and an alert for riders

A newspaper analysis of accident statistics offers good news – and an alert – for motorcyclists.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday fatalities among motorcyclists fell significantly last year, following three years of small declines. The report came in the wake of Ride to?Work Day 2014 Monday.

In 2010, 168 motorcyclists died in accidents on Ohio roads. That number dipped to 166 in 2011 and 163 in 2012, before dropping to 133 in 2013.

Perhaps that was an anomaly, partly related to the unusually wet weather last year. Hopefully not; so far this year, 28 riders have lost their lives in crashes.

But the Dispatch analysis also offered this revealing statistic: Riders were at fault in fatal crashes 59-74 percent of the time between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile, motorcyclists were at fault in 57-58 percent of accidents resulting in injuries.

The alert this raises should be obvious: defensive riding isn’t enough; responsible riding also is a necessity.

But, if the numbers for the last few years indicate, motorcyclists acknowledge they are primarily responsible for their own safety. Indeed, the heightened state of awareness demanded while aboard a cycle is part of the attraction for many riders.

“We’re a little more difficult to see, and we don’t have all that protection (of a car) around us,” Chuck Stiteler, coordinator of Motorcycle Ohio, the largest statewide training program for bikers, stated in the article. “We have to really be on our toes.”

If you ride, be alert and be safe. If you don’t, look twice for motorcyclists.