KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the weather gets warmer, you’re about to see more motorcyclists on the road. Many are urging riders and other drivers to keep safety at the top of their minds.
On March 23, Travis Wilkerson, 32, of Knoxville was killed when a Honda SUV attempted to turn left from Ashville Highway onto Ruggles Ferry Pike. His motorcycle hit the side of the Honda, according to KPD. Wilkerson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Now, one Knoxville motorcycle group, made up of current and former police officers, is speaking about the dangers of being a motorcyclist on the road.
“It is motorcycle season,” said Jake Lakin, a former KPD officer. “We’re out here, motorcycles are everywhere and we’re just trying to get home.”
Lakin is retired from law enforcement. He is now dedicated to teaching motorcycle safety to other riders.
“When we hear that somebody goes down on a motorcycle, they may not be part of our club, but they’re part of our whole family, and we care about that. We may have never met this person or known them, but it hurts us all,” state Lakin.
He’s part of a group called the Blue Nights and they have a few easy tips for motorcyclists.
“When you’re coming up to an intersection and you see a car sitting there and you’re a motorcycle, do the wiggle. What the wiggle is, you take this hand and you push down and back and what it does is offset the headlights of your motorcycle just a little bit. So if you’re sitting in your car and you can see ‘oh that’s a motorcycle’,” explained Lakin.
He adds that other drivers should double-check their soundings before changing lanes.
“Two-thirds of accidents with motorcycles happen just like that, people pull right in front of them. The other third-get hit from behind.” Lakin stated, “when you stop at a red light, or a stop sign and somebody’s coming up behind you, flash your brake lights.”
The Blue Nights teach a motorcycle safety class for all drivers. Member and former New York State Trooper, Darryl Clark said, “we’re going to cover breaking, we’re going to cover being aware, we’re going to cover road hazards.”
The goal is to create safer habits for everyone on the road. The Rider Safety Course will be at the Harley Davidson on Clinton Highway on April 1, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The crash on Asheville Highway remains under investigation.