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Rate of motorcycle-related deaths raises concern for NHP

Reported by: Jerry Brown
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Updated: 9/03/2013 6:05 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- There was another motorcycle-related fatality on local roadways. The latest happened this morning about 2:30 on southbound U.S. 95 near Cheyenne.

A motorcycle collided with a truck and the results were predictable.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, while the unharmed truck driver is not expected to face charges, according to authorities.

News 3's Jerry Brown reports from the Cycle School Motorcycle Safety that motorcycle fatalities in Nevada are way ahead of last year's pace.

The Cycle School is the largest private institution of motorcycle instruction in Nevada and there are some indications that Nevada motorcyclists could use some extra instruction.

There have been 20 motorcycle-related deaths in Clark County this year with the latest this morning.

This matches the entire total for 2012 and we still have four months left in 2013.

“We can train people, teach them how to ride, give them all the skills, the tools the techniques, the strategy-it's what they do with it when they go out there on the street,” said Doc Moss who owns and operates the Cycle School Motorcycle Safety.

DMV figures show there are many more motorcycles registered in the state than there are licensed riders. Trooper Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol says that many motorcyclists on our roadways are not properly credentialed.

“We tend to have some that do not have a driver’s license-a lot of times it is just a misunderstanding, that if they do have a Class C that they can operate a motorcycle with just that,” said NHP Trooper Loy Hixson. “It is a separate endorsement and the reason being that there is more to be aware of, different laws that apply to a motorcyclist so they have to get that class m endorsement to operate a motorcycle.”

Las Vegas attracts riders from across the nation and differences in state laws can cause confusion that leads to accidents. Take lane-splitting for instance

“It is legal to do it in California, and they have been doing it for 35 to 45 years, so that the cars are used to seeing that. Here in Nevada if somebody splits lanes cars aren't used to it and sometimes bad things happen,” Moss said.

Paradoxically, despite the prohibition on splitting lanes and a strict helmet law, Nevada motorcyclists are permitted to take children still in kindergarten out on highway runs. There is no passenger age limit.

“The only thing that is required in Nevada is that the child be old enough to hold on and be able to reach the peg,” Moss said.

A new state law beginning October first will allow motorcyclists and bicyclists to turn left on red under certain conditions. Cognizance of the laws surrounding motor cycle operation are key says trooper Hixson to curbing the increase in related fatalities.

“The one thing we do see is when you have a single vehicle accident involving a motorcycle, a lot of times it is that driver that operator not abiding by the rules of the road, and unfortunately it catches up to them and it results in some fatality,” Hixson said.

Nevada motorcyclists who complete a state certified course of instruction can qualify for up to a 10 to even 15 percent discount on their insurance. That's good news for them financially and for the drivers who share the road with them, some piece of mind.

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