Daytona Beach Bike Week 2009 is wrapping up the festivities today and regrettably there have been 7 reported deaths this past 10 days. Fortunately this number is down considerably from 2006 when there were 26 reported deaths. Perhaps the cold dry weather earlier in the week and the sunny weather the past few days helped provide some measure of safety to the motorcyclists riding and partying in Daytona Beach this bike week.
Some of the deaths could possibly have been avoided if the riders were wearing helmets but most would have occurred regardless of this safety measure. Most bikers realize that it is the other car or truck driver who is either drinking, talking on their cell phone or even texting that is responsible for most of the accidents involving motorcycles. During a bike festival where 250,000 bikes converge in one town it is likely that the number of accidents, injuries and death will increase. However credit should be given to the Daytona Beach/Volusia County law enforcement agencies for planning ahead to slow down traffic and make pedestrian crosswalks in congested areas such as the Iron Horse Saloon and Destination Daytona to reduce the risk to bikers and pedestrians alike.
Unfortunately one couple on foot was mowed down on U.S. 1 by a careless driver while they were trying to get across the street to their pickup truck parked near Smiley’s Tap and the Broken Spoke in Ormond Beach. On Saturday a pickup truck reared ended a motorcycle in Daytona Beach ejecting and killing a passenger on the bike. Alcohol may have been a factor in the case and the driver of the pickup tuck is under investigation.
Some bikers insist that loud pipes help save more lives than any other single safety measure motorcyclists can take. While some people object to the noise there is no doubt that loud pipes do indeed let car and truck drivers know they are around. Interestingly the American Motorcycle Association is concerned that the controversy over loud pipes will damage the political movement for greater biker rights. They want to make sure that bikers can have the right to choose whether to wear helmets and don’t want to put stumbling blocks in the way of legislation to create more options for bikers.
As far as I could see, the great majority of the motorcyclists in town for Bike Week 2009 acted responsibly and from all appearances had a fabulous time in the motorcycle capital of the world. Let’s hope that Bike Week 2010 is even safer than this year.