The latest deadly motorcycle accident in our area happened at the corner of West Walnut Street and State of Franklin in Johnson City. Police say Burrell Mitchell died after being hit on his motorcycle when a pickup truck made a left turn into his path.
Lt. Larry Williams of the Johnson City police said that "over 70 percent of all motorcycle crashes are caused by people making a left turn in front of the motorcycle. And invariably, the driver will always say, 'well I didn't see them.'"
This is the second motorcycle death we?ve seen in the last days. Joseph Hite of Sullivan County was killed this past weekend after his bike hit a grate on the right side of Diana Road in Kingsport.
?Operator inexperience, a 16-year-old on a motorcycle unfortunately left the right side of the roadway,? said Dusty Johnson, a Kingsport police officer.
This has been as especially deadly spring for motorcyclists on both sides of the state line. In Tennessee, at least 42 motorcyclists have died so far this year. In Virginia that number is at least 17.
The state of Tennessee requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet while on the road, but they also encourage riders to wear other protective gear in case of an accident.
In Virginia you are also required to take a safety course or have a valid license. The state of Tennessee encourages motorcycle classes for all drivers so they not only know what to watch out for, but how to react.
?The biggest mistake that most people make," said Jim Cook, "is brake too hard or they try to brake and swerve at the same time.?
Cook encourages riders to take his class to learn the proper way to ride, because you never know where a car could be headed your way. "My brother back in 2001. [He] was in a serious motorcycle wreck where he just about lost his leg," said Johnson. "With his situation, same thing. A driver cut in front of him and did not see the motorcycle."