Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Knoxville riders urge drivers to share the road

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – One night after a deadly motorcycle crash in Knoxville, safety was on the minds of a lot of riders. May happens to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Knoxville police say Christopher Brill, 29, was killed when his motorcycle crashed with a van Monday night on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. Troopers say the driver of the van, Jayeskumar Patel, 36, made an improper turn into a parking lot. Charges are pending.

Previous story: Motorcyclist dies from injuries after crash with vehicle in Knoxville

Jerry Riggins has more than 50 years of experience on a bike. He says it’s important for drivers and riders to always be vigilant. With the warm weather, more bikes will be on the road meaning the chances for these types of crashes increase.

“Some things can be prevented yes if folks would just be aware,” said Riggins.

Jerry Riggins
Jerry Riggins

Riggins says throughout his life, he’s lost fellow riders to crashes.

“A lot of vehicles and folks just don’t see us,” said Riggins.

More online: THP daily fatality report [PDF]

There have been 26 motorcycle deaths in Tennessee this year. By this time last year, there were 29 deaths. Riggins has had close calls, but credits some of his safety to being a good defensive rider.

Jerry Riggins has more than 50 years of experience on a bike.
Jerry Riggins has more than 50 years of experience on a bike.

“It’s like a game of chess or checkers, I look way up the road to see what you’re going to do if someone does what they’re going to do,” said Riggins.

Motorcyclists like Riggins want drivers to think twice when it comes to switching lanes and making turns.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Don Boshears rides bikes in his spare time, too. He also stresses the importance of driving and riding smart.

“This time of year there’s more motorcycles on the roadway and our chances of crashes occurring increase,” he said. “If they’re involved in a crash, it’s either the vehicle hitting them or they’re going to hit the roadway. There’s no protection hardly,” said Lt. Boshears.

There were a total of 121 motorcycle deaths in Tennessee last year, down from 135 in 2013. Riders say that number is still too high.

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