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Time to crack down on inattentive drivers

As a motorcyclist for the last 45 years, and a motorcycle safety instructor for nine of those years, I was very interested in the Sept. 24 lead article on motorcycle fatalities. Unfortunately, it contains a few misconceptions.

I do not condone speeding or riding without a license. However, speeding or riding unlicensed on the part of a motorcyclist in no way relieves other drivers of their responsibilities to be alert and aware of the traffic around them. The level of inattention on our roads today is inexcusable.

Just this past summer, I was almost run off the road when the driver of the car in the lane next to me changed lanes without looking or signaling. At the next stop light he was kind enough (and brave enough) to roll down his window and apologize. When I asked why he didn’t look first before changing lanes, he replied that his car’s blind spot monitor didn’t alert him of any problem, so he changed lanes. Instead of increasing safety, the new electronic systems being added to cars today seem to only make drivers more complacent. Perhaps mandatory felony charges against inattentive drivers who cause fatalities is the answer. Too many times the newspaper account of such a tragedy ends with the statement that the car driver involved was only charged with failure to yield. This has to stop.

I also take issue with the Town of Tonawanda police lieutenant who wondered why a particular accident victim didn’t lay down his motorcycle when he saw he was in trouble. Laying a bike down means giving up any semblance of control. I know of no reputable motorcycle school that recommends laying a bike down in an emergency.

And finally, trying to work the word “cycle” into the headline out of all context only serves to trivialize an important story. Way to go, News.

Karl Hutchinson

Williamsville