GREAT FALLS - There has been a spike in the number of motorcyclists who have died in crashes in recent weeks across Montana, including five in Cascade County.
MTN News talked with Samantha Gondeiro, who is not only a motorcyclist but also a police officer in Great Falls.
Gondeiro said arriving at the scene of motorcycle crashes is never easy.
“For me, it's hard because I know the risks and I want everyone to enjoy motorcycles, but when I show up and find out that the motorcyclist was being careless or wasn't abiding by the rules, it's hard.”
Gondeiro has been riding bikes since she was young, “I started out with dirt bikes up in the mountains, and then when I got to college I started street bikes which was a whole new ball game.”
But even the most experienced motorcyclists still struggle on the road.
“It doesn’t take a lot to get hurt on these things,” said Gondeiro. “I was going maybe 10 miles per hour when I broke my elbow.”
City driving, open road driving, or just cruising around - safety is always a priority.
“I have honestly been impressed with the amount of people here who wear helmets and use the proper lane-filtering procedures,” Gondeiro said when asked about what she sees here. “Wearing a helmet is so important, because that's what is ultimately going to save you.”
Wearing a helmet isn't a law in Montana — but it does increase your chances of survival.
Non-motorcyclists are urged to keep the following in mind:
- Blind spots (motorcycles can come in and out of blind spots very quickly)
- Dont cut them off. If you see a motorcycle give them about 4 to 5 car lengths to slow down, because bikes are much harder to control.
- Be extra cautious when driving on wet roads around motorcycles
Robert Bhatt with Farmers Insurance says motorcycle fatalities in Montana have increased by 26% since 2019.
The Montana Motorcycle Rider Safety teaches classes to help riders improve skills in every defensive manner, such as braking and swerving. To enroll, you can visit motorcycle.msun.edu.