A late morning motorcycle crash that happened at Highway 441 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Bryson City, North Carolina killed two innocent people. According to people who were present in the park at the time of the accident, a northbound SUV crossed the center line, sideswiped a southbound vehicle and hit the motorcycle behind that vehicle head-on. The driver of the motorcycle was killed immediately, while the other passenger died on Wednesday afternoon as confirmed by Bob Miller, the park spokesman.
The impact was so great, that another driver was forced off the road, and sustained injuries that were fortunately believed to be not life threatening. There was no report that the driver of the SUV who was clearly at fault sustained any injuries. Park Rangers had to close the road between Gatlinburg and Cherokee NC when the accident occurred and was reopened at around 1:30 p.m.
According to nhtsa.dot.gov, one of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motor- cycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent. An automobile has more weight and bulk than a motorcycle. It has door beams and a roof to provide some measure of protection from impact or rollover. It has cushioning and airbags to soften impact and safety belts to hold passengers in their seats. It has windshield washers and wipers to assist visibility in the rain and snow. An automobile has more stability because it’s on four wheels, and because of its size, it is easier to see.
A motorcyclist should attend a motorcycle rider-training course to learn how to safely and skilfully operate a motorcycle. A motorcyclist has to be more careful and aware at intersections, where most motorcycle -vehicle collisions occur. Motorcyclists must remain visible to other motorists at all times. Don’t ride in a car’s “No Zone” (blind spot). Anticipate what may happen more than other vehicle drivers may. They must also take precaution when riding in inclement weather, on slippery surfaces, or when encountering obstacles on the roadway. They must place greater reliance on their helmet, and eye protectors.
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