Racing Motorcycles Kills One in Marietta

One man lost his life Wednesday, November 18, while riding his 2007 Suzuki GSXR 1000 northbound on Canton Road in Marietta. The deceased was engaging in exceptionally unsafe behavior by racing another motorcyclist on a 2004 Honda VFR800 through traffic.

The two were weaving through traffic when the deceased clipped the rear end of a Mercury Villager, which sent him into southbound lanes. There, he fell off of his motorcycle and was hit by a Toyota Camry among the oncoming cars. The rider of the Suzuki was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Honda rider, David James Tipton, a thirty-four year old from Marietta, was charged with DUI, reckless driving, illegal racing and vehicular homicide.

I am sad to hear of this man’s death, but at the same time, I am appalled by his unsafe behavior, and hope sincerely the other drivers involved in this – those driving the Villager and the Camry – were not hurt. Motorcycles can be mode of transportation and a fun hobby, but those who drive them and who share the road with them must always treat them with the respect they deserve. Unlike a car, motorcycles offer little to no protection in the event of an accident. While a car’s body and roof might protect a passenger in the event of a crash or rollover, a motorcyclist’s body is subjected to any punishment itself.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycles account for 11 percent of the national traffic fatalities, while making up only about 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road. This difference is in part due to the fact that while only approximately 20 percent of car accidents involve a fatality, while by comparison approximately 80 percent of accidents involving a motor cycle do. It's a macabre truth that doctors and emergency professionals often caustically refer to motorcycles as "donor cycles" due to the high amount of fatalities due to motorcycle accidents.

In this incident, two men behaved irresponsibly, and one of them paid the price.

People interested in motorcycle safety can investigate the resources provided by the NHTSA on their website. Everyone who wishes to be a responsible motorcyclist ought to thoroughly research how to protect themselves and others, and to be aware of the very real, unique risks posed to motorcycles on the road.

On average, 25 percent of the motorcyclists killed in accidents are not licensed, or not properly licensed to handle their vehicle, and have not received standard safety training.

An important first step for a driver who wishes to become a responsible motorcyclist is to make sure that he is properly trained and registered to drive it. This training will include a great deal of useful information, including basic safety tips for motorcyclists, such as being particularly cautious in intersections and taking care not to ride in a car’s blind spot, where a person on a motorcycle might easily be entirely invisible to the driver. They will also address issues of finding the right motorcycle for particular drivers’ needs, and the necessity of protective gear.

Many motorcycle accidents are the result of a lack of basic riding skills and understanding and a failure to realize the unique limitations and characteristics of these popular vehicles.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident or an accident with a motorcycle, time is of the essence. Call 404-531-9700 for a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.