Deadly motorcycle accidents climb to 7 in the Triad this year

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- A woman is fighting for her life in the hospital following a motorcycle accident; one which took the life of her husband.

Police say on Sunday, John Lee Ellington and his wife, Christine Ledford Ellington, were riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle on Graves Street Sunday near Spring Street in Kernersville. A woman was driving a Cadillac Escalade on Spring Street and was turning left onto Graves Street when the wreck occurred, ejecting both John and Christine.

This accident, according to our numbers, is at least the seventh deadly motorcycle accident in the Triad this year. John’s death was the third motorcycle fatality the first weekend in May alone.

“It’s a dangerous sport, but it’s a real fun sport. The key is to manage your risk and to be aware of the risk,” said Lee Jackson, who teaches motorcycle safety at Forsyth Tech.

Jackson stresses to his students that safety begins before the ride; with a detailed inspection of their motorcycle. But, one on the road, the dangers are everywhere.

“You’re always looking ahead to see what’s coming, evaluate it and play the what if,” Jackson said. “What if they pull out, what if they don’t pull out, what am I going to do?”

Jackson says he always tries to be one step ahead of motorists on the road – reading their actions – so he can plan his.

“I’m not looking to see the driver; I’m looking to see the wheel. If the wheel starts to turn, or starts to roll, I figure they’re probably going to pull out in front of me,” Jackson said.

Local rider Barbara Doub says she has close calls every time she straps on her helmet.

“You’re blowing the horn and flashing your lights and they’re on their cell phones or whatever, it doesn’t matter, they don’t hear us, they don’t see us,” she said.

Doub said she has lost friends to motorcycle accidents and has friends who have lost parts of their bodies. Incidents which almost made her give up riding altogether.

“It’s a little scary but at the same time, you can’t stop doing what you enjoy,” she said. “Just like being in a plane, you may come down, you may not.”

Jackson said it’s the responsibility of the rider to make themselves as visible as possible to other motorists. In addition to wearing a helmet and full protective gear, he encourages riders to wear reflective gear and always make sure their headlight is on.

“Even though that person looks like they look directly at you, they’re really seeing right past you,” Jackson said.

At last check, Christine Ellington was still in critical condition. Kernersville police say the accident is still under investigation and, as of now, no charges have been filed.