Captain James E. Wilt, commanding officer of Troop B, would like to raise the public’s awareness of motorcycle and off-road vehicle safety. Thus far in 2020, 13 people have been killed in traffic crashes in Troop B. Five of the fatalities involved motorcycles and five fatalities involved off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs. During 2019 in Troop B, one person was killed in a motorcycle crash and three were killed in crashes involving an off-road vehicle.
From June 1, 2020, to July 22, 2020, Troop B investigated nine crashes involving motorcycles that resulted in an injury or death. Those nine crashes resulted in two fatalities, two serious injuries, five moderate injuries, and one minor injury. One person was not wearing a helmet.
During the same time period, Troop B investigated ten crashes involving off-road style vehicles that resulted in an injury or death. Those ten crashes resulted in one fatality, four minor injuries, seven moderate injuries, and four serious injuries. Eight of the injured people were juveniles. Thirteen of the victims were not using a safety device.
Captain Wilt would like to remind every driver, no matter what type of vehicle, to operate their vehicle with the utmost of care. “Traffic crashes are preventable,” said Captain Wilt. “If people operate their vehicles safely, obey the traffic laws, and use the proper safety devices, fatal crashes and injuries can be prevented.”
· Wear a DOT approved helmet and appropriate clothing to make yourself visible and protect your body if you are involved in a crash.
· Obey all traffic laws and operate your motorcycle at a safe speed.
· Be a defensive driver. Don’t assume other drivers can see you. Avoid the blind spots of other drivers when possible. Many motorcycle crashes occur when other motorists violate a motorcycle’s right-of-way.
· Never operate your motorcycle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
· Be sure your headlight, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals are working. There are many after market lighting options that can legally assist in making your motorcycle more visible.
Off-Road Vehicle Safety
· Wear a DOT approved helmet, appropriate clothing, and other safety equipment such as goggles and boots to help protect yourself in case you are involved in a crash. Anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet when operating an ATV.
· Use the manufacturer-installed seat belts properly if the vehicle is so equipped.
· Only ride on paved roads when it is allowed by law. Off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs are designed for off-road use and will handle differently on paved and gravel roads.
· Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for passengers on or in the vehicle.
· Know the laws governing the operation of an off-road vehicle on public roadways in your area. There are many state and local regulations governing the use of off-road vehicles on public roadways. Common requirements are slow-moving vehicle emblems, bicycle safety flags, state registration, and local registration. A valid driver’s license is required to operate any motor vehicle on a public roadway.
· Only ride off-road vehicles that are appropriate for your age, size, and skill level.
· Riders under the age of 16 should be under the direct supervision of an adult.
· Never operate your off-road vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.Every motorist needs to pay attention to the full-time job of driving. Be especially mindful for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles and off-road vehicles when changing lanes, crossing roadways, or passing other vehicles. For further information on the laws and regulations governing off-road vehicles and motorcycles, visit this link: https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=304.033&bid=16211&hl= or contact your local law enforcement agency or the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Far too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”
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