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Motorcycle safety is focus of show at Martinsburg Mall

April 07, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Motorcycle riders and the public can learn about efforts to make motorcycle riding safer Saturday during a show at the Martinsburg Mall.

Members of the motorcycle organization American Bikers Advocating Training and Education, or ABATE, will be available to talk about Danny's Law and other issues related to motorcycle safety, said Kirk Clark, president of the Eastern Panhandle chapter of ABATE.

Danny's Law, which is pending in the state Legislature, was named after Danny Kneisly, a motorcyclist who was killed Sept. 22, 2004, in the Arden, W.Va., area, Clark said.

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Kneisly was traveling west on Arden Road when another motorist turned in front of him at a business along the road, Clark said. Kneisly died a short time later at City Hospital and the motorist was charged with failure to yield right of way, Clark said.

In most accidents where a motorist pulls in front of a motorcyclist, the motorist is charged with failure to yield right of way, a violation that carries a $20 fine plus a requirement to pay court costs, Clark said.

ABATE members are pushing for Danny's Law as a way to increase punishment for people who pull in front of motorcyclists.

Under Danny's Law, those motorists could be charged with careless driving, which would carry a punishment of a driver's license suspension for six months and a fine of $500 to $1,000 if the motorcyclist suffers bodily injury, Clark said.

If a motorcyclist is killed, the punishment could be the suspension of a driver's license for 12 months and a fine of $1,000 to $1,500, Clark said.

Danny's Law passed the state Senate recently and is being considered in the House of Delegates, Clark said.

During Saturday's show, motorcyclists and the public can learn about the Eastern Panhandle Down Rider Fund and motorcycle safety and education courses.

Motorcycling can be made safer in many ways, including tips which vehicle drivers can follow, Clark said.

Those include always using turn signals in automobiles and being alert for motorcycles, said Clark, adding that some people try to read newspapers or put on makeup while driving.

"People need to be responsible for their actions," Clark said.

The Down Rider Fund is money set aside to help support families of motorcycle riders who may be in a hospital for an extended period due to a motorcycle crash, Clark said.

There will be 50-50 drawing during the show to support the fund, Clark said.

The show will be held from noon to 6 p.m.

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