NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A not guilty plea from a Rhode Island man to more than 20 charges following a crash injuring multiple motorcyclists in Franklin County over the weekend. Eight of those riders were seriously injured with two in serious condition.
22News spoke with motorcyclists in Northampton Tuesday evening, they say far too many accidents have happened so far this year.
Those nine motorcyclists were hit on Route 10 in Northfield on Sunday. The driver himself was also pulling a trailer carrying a motorcycle. Local riders are begging people to stay alert, saying these tragedies are preventable.
“All I remember was I felt like I was sliding into home plate. I had one leg under the bike, one leg on the seat,” said Michael Kapinos of Chicopee.
A close call is etched in a biker’s memory, how quickly the thrills of riding can turn into tragedy. Since April, western Massachusetts has seen more than five motorcycle-involved accidents, three of them deadly. The local biker community trying to spread awareness, by using their own experiences.
22News spoke with a motorcyclist who knows far too well the dangers of taking your bike out on the road.. after he was hit some years ago. He told 22News his message for other bikers and motorists.
“Years ago, years ago I was hit. If I didn’t realize the car was running the intersection and I swerved away.. he would’ve caught my leg,” Kapinos said. “But by swerving away he caught the back of the bike and I just slid down the road.”
And a major problem he sees now.
“People with telephones. It’s ridiculous don’t know how many times people come into me,” Kapinos said.
Kapinos was leaving Roland’s Motor Works in Northampton when 22News caught up with him. They service western Massachusetts motorcyclists with an emphasis on safety.
“Making sure they have reflectors, making sure the bike itself is safe, tires are safe. Then we talk to people about rider training, safety courses, things like that. Make it easy, and readily available for them to make the phone call and get involved.
Tessier added that they recently had a rider blessing, stressing the importance of what they can control as bikers.
According to state data, there were just over 1,800 motorcycle accidents last year, and 70 of them were fatal. That same data shows that 2021 was the deadliest year for motorcyclists in Massachusetts on record since 2010.