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Police encourage heightened motorycle awareness in preparation for Saturday's festival

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Some streets in downtown E'town will be closed for event

By Sarah Bennett

Anticipating a heavy increase in motorcycle traffic in the area this weekend for the BBQ, Blues & Bikes Festival, Elizabethtown Police Department is boosting its efforts to increase awareness and traffic safety.

Sgt. Tim Cleary said officials expect to see between 400 and 700 motorcycles this Memorial Day weekend in Elizabethtown for the festival, which runs from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Because of the influx, Cleary said EPD is launching a local “Share the Road” campaign to run through the holiday weekend. May is recognized nationally as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

When a motorcycle is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, the motorcyclist typically is not at fault, Cleary said, even though he or she usually bears the brunt of the injuries.

In those wrecks where the motorcyclist is at fault, he said speed typically is a contributing factor.

Cleary advised motorcyclists to wear helmets and protective clothing and take steps to make themselves “as visible as possible.”

Nearly half of all motorcycle-related collisions occur when an automobile turns left in front of a rider, according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

Contributing to that, Cleary said, is a driver’s failure to spot motorcyclists or accurately judge their speed.

Automobile drivers, he said, should place a large distance between themselves and motorcycles and allow the biker a full lane width.

Bikes need space to maneuver around obstacles in the roadway, such as pot holes, that cars simply can drive over, Cleary said.

In addition to an influx of motorcycles, Cleary said the festival is expected to draw a large number of visitors from out of state.

Compounded with the holiday weekend, he said officials anticipate heavy traffic on the city’s roads.

“We want to make sure people attending parties and events do so in an appropriate manner,” Cleary said.

He advised motorists to reduce distractions in vehicles, remain calm and alert while driving and do not operate a car or motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“We don’t need to see any road rage incidents,” Cleary said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.