Motorcycle Collisions Claim 5 Lives This Year In Southcentral

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A string of motorcycle collisions have taken five lives in the Southcentral area since April. The state Department of Public Safety wants motorists to be aware of the dangers of motorcycling , as May is the state – designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Adds like this one running on YouTube and the department of public safety web site, stress training and caution for both motorcyclists and automobile drivers:

“Wear protective clothing. Avoid lane spreading. Assume other drivers won’t see you. Ride defensively and within your experience level, and consider taking a training course. Drivers: treat motorcycles like full size vehicles, especially when turning or passing, and follow at a greater distance. And everyone, make sure to follow all traffic. Keep the rubber side down. “

Early spring weather and lots of sun has brought motorcyclists out on the roads the last couple of weeks in the Anchorage area. And too many lives have been lost in accidents involving motorcycles already.  

 On a narrow highway shoulder near Palmer last week, riders lined up for an impromptu memorial service at the site of an accident on May 3 that claimed the lives of three members of the Harley Owners Group Alaska Chapter. They placed flowers and flags at the site. Roy Kallander is one of the riders

“A  young man, probably devastated, that was making this turn here, that got pushed into the oncoming traffic, which happened to be our friends. Wonderful people. We’ve spent a lot of time with these people over the years, and certainly are really missing them and hurting really bad. So it gives us a chance to come together and hopefully to help grieving family members. “

 James and Sabrina Carlyle of Wasilla, both riding on one motorcycle, were killed in that wreck, as was Elaine Loew of Anchorage. A fourth rider was unhurt.

Four of the five motorcycle fatalities so far this year have happened in the Matanuska Susitna Borough. Cameron MacDonald, 28, was killed when an alleged drunken driver collided with MacDonald’s Yamaha bike on a Wasilla roadway in April. The driver of the Jeep that hit MacDonald has been charged with manslaughter. And an Anchorage man, 27 year old Robert Firlan, was killed at a motorcycle collision at a downtown intersection. During the entire year of 2013, there were nine fatalities due to motorcycle accidents.