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“Drivers need to be triple-checking, not just double-checking, to make sure they are looking for motorcycles."

Be on the lookout: Motorcycles, mopeds are out in force

Warm weather means more motorcycles will be hitting the roads, and police encourage drivers to share the road.

This month, motorcycle and moped riders were involved in crashes and taken to hospitals in critical condition, Fort Wayne police said.

The first crash occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Friday when a moped collided with a pickup trick.

Investigators believe the moped was headed south on Anthony Boulevard and the GMC Sonoma truck was going north when both vehicles tried to turn east onto Washington Boulevard and collided, police said.

The driver of the moped, 47-year-old Steven Mincoff, remained in critical condition at Parkview Hospital on Wednesday.

The second crash occurred Tuesday in the 1300 block of Leesburg Road.

About 7:26 p.m., Richard Petersen was found unconscious and unresponsive after his motorcycle struck a light pole.

Petersen, 47, was taken to Lutheran Hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to serious condition.

Witnesses told investigators that Petersen failed to negotiate a curve, crossed the centerline and struck a curb on the west side of the road. After hitting the curb, he lost control of the motorcycle and hit the light pole, according to police.

He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, and his blood-alcohol content was 0.22 percent – more than twice the legal limit.

Raquel Foster, Fort Wayne police spokeswoman, said speed and alcohol were both contributing factors to Petersen’s crash, but she said it’s an important reminder to motorcyclists and other motorists to be aware that more motorcycles are traveling this time of year.

“With warmer weather upon us, there will be more motorcycles on the roadway,” Foster said.

“There’s going to be much more activity, and drivers have to be alert.”

Drivers of passenger vehicles should allow a greater following distance with motorcyclists and take extra precautions when navigating turns, she said.

“Motorcycle crashes are most often caused by a failure to yield,” Foster said. “Most of the time, motorists report not seeing motorcyclists.

“They need to be aware.”

Because motorcycles have only one headlight, it can be more difficult to spot them on the roads, Allen County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel said.

“Drivers need to be triple-checking, not just double-checking, to make sure they are looking for motorcycles,” Tinkel said.

Although the state doesn’t require motorcyclists to wear helmets, it’s still a good idea to wear one, he said.

jcrothers@jg.net

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