Motorcycle victim shares importance of motorcycle safety - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Motorcycle victim shares importance of motorcycle safety

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(SOURCE: C.J. Ardoin) (SOURCE: C.J. Ardoin)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

As the weather begins to warm up and summer inches closer, more motorcyclists are hitting the highways.

Officials urge anyone operating a motor vehicle to be on alert for those riding on two wheels.

Louisiana Highway Safety Commission preliminary data shows that 75 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2012.

May marks Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and nobody knows the importance of safety more than Dr. C.J. Ardoin.

Ardoin was hit by a tractor while riding his motorcycle in 2010.

"It was a beautiful afternoon, so my wife and I went for a ride near Toledo Bend," he said.

Ardoin said they were hit by a tractor that cut in front of them. He does not remember the accident, but he does remember the extensive recovery process he endured.

"Every bone in my face was fractured, Ardoin said. "I have plates and screws in my head. I had two collapsed lungs, a crushed hip, dislocated and broken wrist, and my scapula was out of place."

After weeks in the hospital, numerous surgeries and months of recovery, Ardoin said he is working to raise awareness on motorcycle safety. Ardoin placed a sign on the back of his truck reading, "watch for us."

"I am spreading motorcycle safety awareness signs all over," he said. "We want people to be more careful drivers. We want you to look three or four times before moving lanes."

Louisiana State Police Sergeant James Anderson said Troop D investigated six fatal motorcycle crashes in 2012.

"These vehicles are small so they are harder to see," Anderson said. "Drivers need to maintain a greater than normal following distance. Where normally a two second following distance is rule of thumb, if you are behind a motorcycle, we recommend at least three or four seconds."

Anderson said another factor to motorcycle crashes is often operator error. Cyclists are required to participate in a motorcycle training program.

"You can buy a motorcycle but you are legally required to have an endorsement before operating that motorcycle," Anderson said.

Ardoin is no longer riding motorcycles but is thankful he can still practice dentistry.

"I think Louisiana is a great place, I think it's a great place for people to ride a motorcycle," Ardoin said. "We just need to watch out for each other."

For more information on motorcycle training courses, click HERE.

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