By Kathryn Eutsler, Ozarks News Brief

“Once you ride, you gotta ride. It’s just a feeling of freedom,” said Dennis Brewer, who lost two friends in motorcycle accidents.

“In Springfield, a truck jackknifed, he hit the breaks real hard and it jackknifed, and the kid couldn’t stop and he hit the trailer and it killed him.”

It’s a story that’s becoming increasingly common. According to the Online Accident Data Center, in this year alone, seventeen people in Missouri have been killed in motorcycle wrecks.

“Motorcyclists are afraid,” said auto injury lawyer Tim Hayes.

Hayes says he has dealt with motorcycle accidents for over 20 years. He says while the motorcyclist is sometimes at fault, it’s rare.

“Only one time in all my years of practice have i actually had an accident where a driver came to me and said, ‘i want to make a claim against a motorcyclist.’”

Hayes says, oftentimes, the driver of the car simply did not notice the motorcycle.

“They violate the right of way of the motorcycle because they don’t see it, explained Hayes.”

And it’s not just about vision. One reason for a lot of car/motorcycle accidents is drivers not hearing the motorcycle. If you’re in your car with the air on and the music up, you’re probably not going to hear those exhaust pipes.

Hayes says motorcyclists take precautions to become more noticeable.

“Harleys, the way they’re designed to make more noise, and you’ll notice too. They have day running lights, you’ll see a headlight that will be on in broad daylight,” said Hayes.

Hayes went on to say that even when precautions are taken, fatal motorcycle wrecks often warrant increased police investigation.

Following fatal motorcycle wrecks, police with special training will go back to the scene of the accident and map out what happened. But he says no matter who is at fault in the wreck involving a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist almost always sustains the worst injuries.