Motorcyclists victim says drivers need to share road

Crash after crash - lately it's been several motorcyclists taking the hit. For Roy Alafa, it's a constant flashback.

"Getting hit really hard with a sledgehammer. I mean, on both sides. It was painful," says Roy Alafa, crash victim.

It was January 21st when Alafa was riding South on I35, exiting Airport Blvd. That's when he says a car tried to get over into his lane. Before he knew it, he was flying off his bike.

"He actually threw me up against the concrete barrier. It smashed me up pretty well. I was pretty much sandwiched in-between the vehicle and concrete barrier," says Alafa.

Alafa says an Austin Police officer happened to see the crash and came to his aid, even waiting with him until the paramedics arrived. One side of his hip is dislocated and the other side is fractured. He also has a sprained ankle, along with bumps and bruises.               

"The roads are getting worse and people are always in a rush to get to places. They're not double-checking their blind sides," says Alafa.

This is just one of many recent motorcycle crashes. On January 16th, DPS responded to a hit-and-run on FM 973 and SH 45 in Manor. The victim, Michael Lang, spoke with us from his hospital bed. He remembers going through a traffic light that had just turned green.

Then all of a sudden, he says another vehicle ran the red light and slammed into him. Lang has had multiple surgeries on his spine, neck, shoulder and wrist. A blood clot was also found in his lung. It's a situation that motorcyclist Drew Waisman is terrified to be in.

"Definitely on the freeway. From when people are going zero miles per hour, to seventy, back down to zero. My biggest fear is I'm always looking in my mirrors, afraid that I'm going to get rear-ended," says Drew Waisman, Newman's Automotive.

Waisman hopes drivers will learn to share the road and pay less attention to their cell phones. He says many people aren't following the hands-free ordinance.

"They figure, oh there is a car in front of me, I want to turn and switch lanes. They are too busy on the phone and they can't look out the window and they use only their mirror to come over," says Waisman.

Motorangutan is a bike dealership and accessory store in South Austin.

"Well you need the helmet, gloves, jacket and maybe boots," says Alex Christellis, Motorangutan employee.

This past Fall, they say Brackenridge Hospital reached out to them, asking for discount cards to give motorcyclists brought there after a wreck. They hope it will be an incentive for them to buy protective gear.

"Yea it's expensive but from personal experience, from being hit by a five-thousand pound car at 50 miles an hour, it's really unforgiving. You really, at that moment, wish you had that extra gear," says Christellis.

According to APD's highway enforcement commander: In 2015 there were 32 fatal incidents involving a driver without a valid license. Nearly half of those had no driver's license, 28% had no motorcycle license and 25% had a suspended license.

There were 37 victims. 23 of them were motor vehicle drivers or passengers. 11 were motorcycle drivers and three pedestrians.

 

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