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Survivor of dangerous motorcycle crash shares how he stays safe while riding

"We’re not passing you at the light because we want to be first. We’re doing this for a safety reason"
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Posted at 7:56 AM, Apr 27, 2024

Riding Motorcycles can be dangerous, and as the weather gets nicer, we're going to start seeing a lot more of them on the road. So, let's talk about ways you can stay safe on and off the bike.

“There was some radial nerve damage when the bone broke. It stretched the nerve that wrapped around it, and kind of made my hand go dead for six months,” Austin Prino says as he shows me his scar.

Austin is a Fitment Specialist at Harley-Davidson. He’s been riding dirt bikes and motorcycles for over 20 years. In June of 2021, he was in a terrible motorcycle accident.

“I was cruising up to a light, and there was a car in front of me and a car next to me, both going the same way. The one in the right lane turned left from the right lane. Hit me twice, ran me over. Paralyzed my arm,” says Austin, who now has a rod in his bicep, along with seven screws to hold it in place.

After six months, he could move his hand again and got right back to riding.

Austin says one way he likes to stay safe while riding is lane filtering: “I don't like to sit at the back of a light ever, it’s probably the worst place to be.”

Filtering is when a motorcyclist rides in between two lanes of traffic, that are moving at 10 mph or slower, to get to a safer spot on the road. Motorcyclists can move up to the front of the line and remove themselves from dangerous blind spots, such as in between two cars.

Austin tells me, because filtering is such a new law it's important to get this information to the public, and he says he wants to “let cars know we’re not passing you at the light because we want to be first. We’re doing this for a safety reason”.

Austin says one way cars on the road can help keep motorcyclists safe is to be aware of their surroundings.

“It's an old saying: loud pipes save lives. So being heard is important. If you can hear me before you can see me, there's a chance you're going to be looking for me. It's like a cop siren.”

Bozeman Police motorcycles have both sirens and loud pipes, which keeps officers safer when on duty.

I spoke with Captain Cory Klumb, an ex-motorcycle cop for the Bozeman Police Department. He’s seen many motorcycle accidents over the years and tells me the top reasons these accidents occur.

“They fit into one of three categories. Either a motorcyclist going to fast around a corner and they’ll leave the roadway because they were going too fast. Second-most common is vehicles turning left in front of a motorcyclist because they don't see them. And the third is getting rear-ended at a traffic light or some type of stop,” says Klumb.

According to the National Safety Council, there’s an average of over 6,000 fatal motorcycle accidents in the U.S. every year. A motorcyclist was killed in Bozeman just over a week ago on Bridger Canyon Road. So, what’s Klumb’s advice to stay safe?

“There’s acronyms for everything. And there's one called SIPDE. It’s scan, identify, predict, decide, and execute. So that's the process of riding a motorcycle. You constantly have to be looking around for hazards (scanning), then you (identify) the hazard, figure out what they’re going to do (predict), figure out what you're going to do (decide), and then take that action (execute)” says Klumb.

Klumb says he also advocates for always wearing proper gear. Such as gloves, boots, long pants, a jacket, and a helmet, even though it's legal to ride without one over the age of 18. According to the Montana Department of Transportation, in a crash, an un-helmeted motorcyclist is 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury.

And if you’re interested in getting into riding, Austin Prino suggests, “Start small. Start on a little dirt bike or a Honda Grom. Something small that you can manage, that if you put it down it's not gonna hurt your feelings and it's not gonna hurt you”.

Captain Klum also suggests all motorcyclists should take a Basic Rider Course.