(H/t Adam Ritterbush)
As more and more motorcyclists take to Wyoming’s streets, highways and interstates this summer, local law enforcement is already seeing an uptick in motorcycle-related accidents over the same time period last year, according to Gillette Police Department (GPD) Lt. Brent Wasson, including two motorcycle accidents, reported yesterday involving three bikers.
The first occurred Tuesday morning on West Boxelder Road when the 49-year-old driver of a GMC pickup failed to see a motorcycle traveling in the westbound lane as he made a left turn into the Home Depot parking lot. The 29-year-old rider was subsequently thrown from his bike into the front end of the pickup when the vehicles collided, Wasson said.
EMS arrived and treated a laceration on the motorcyclist’s upper body, who was then transported to the hospital, where he remains in stable condition, according to GPD.
Later the same evening, authorities responded to a second motorcycle accident involving two bikers who collided near the intersection of HWY 51 and Garner Lake Road. One rider had reportedly turned his bike in front of the other rider, causing them to collide. Neither man reported having injuries and declined care on the scene.
It was later discovered that one of the riders, a 31-year-old man, had an outstanding warrant in Platte County and was subsequently arrested.
These two latest accidents bring the number of motorcycle incidents to five between January 1 and May 26, according to figures provided by Wasson. Last year at this time, there had been only four.
“We are already seeing a slight rise in accidents this year compared to 2019,” Wasson said, urging drivers exercise road safety.
Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) seconded this sentiment, reminding all motorists to be extra vigilant while driving, particularly with the upcoming rally around the corner.
“Motorists need to be patient with the extra traffic this time of year,” WHP Lt. Kyle McKay told County 17 last year during Sturgis. “Motorcyclists also need to give themselves a little bit more space between themselves and other motorists on the highway to ensure everyone is safe.”
Although the rally is an annual occurrence, McKay shared some safety tips to keep in mind.
- Wear high-visibility clothing, a helmet, and other safety protection when driving;
- Commit to riding alcohol and drug-free;
- Keep headlights on to provide even more visibility;
- Know local traffic laws; and
- Obey traffic lights, speeds and signs.
- Stay alert when they see a motorcycle’s turn signal activated;
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging;
- Be extra careful at intersections, on- and off-ramps; and
- Allow a greater following distance behind a motorcycle.