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Police: Education helps cut Fairfield County motorcycle crashes

Saying that, "The love overshadows the crash," a longtime Harley Davidson dealer in Carroll, a small town in Fairfield County, continues to extol the virtues and sheer thrills of riding a motorcycle despite a serious injury sustained in a motorcycle accident decades ago.

These days, though, the euphoria that Joe Carson expresses when talking bikes with other riders comes with a bit of cautionary advice, to wit: Despite having no legal obligation to do so unless being a "novice" rider, wear a helmet, anyway.

Always. Carson so strongly believes in that message that his dealership, along with others in Fairfield County, has partnered with the Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP) to disseminate education to would-be and actual riders as widely as possible.

"I'm for anything that will reduce motorcycle injuries," he says, "and motorcycle helmets will reduce injuries."

The partnered effort with law enforcement is credited with materially better crash-related statistics this year as compared with those from 2011. Last year was a record year -- in the worst sense -- for motorcycle crashes in Fairfield County, with 25 accidents reported from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Three of those crashes resulted in fatal injuries to riders.

It's a far different story this year. Over the same time frame, only one fatal crash has occurred (although it killed two people). Moreover, last year's 25-crash total has been reduced to 14.

Lancaster post commander Lt. Craig Cvetan of the OHP echoes Carson's strong endorsement of a helmet, saying crash survival rates are far higher for riders wearing one. He says there's really no valid excuse for not wearing one.

"Helmets are now more comfortable to wear," Cvetan says. "And you can get a good helmet for about $60."

Source: Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, "Police attribute drop in motorcycle crashes to increased awareness, safety," Francesca Sacco, Sept. 14, 2012

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