A Fremont man was killed in a motorcycle accident in Toledo early yesterday, some 12 hours after Police Chief Jack Smith and other law enforcement officers encouraged motorcyclists to wear helmets and other drivers to be more aware.
Aaron Amor, 25, died less than an hour after his motorcycle collided about 12:40 a.m. with a car that was turning left into the Taco Bell parking lot at 2234 West Alexis Rd., Toledo police said.
The crash added to Toledo's unenviable ranking as number one in motorcycle fatalities among Ohio cities with five or more crashes between Jan. 1, 2005, and May 1, according to Ohio Highway Patrol statistics.
Toledo had 10, Dayton was second with seven, Cleveland had six, and Columbus and Youngstown had five each, the patrol reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board yesterday seized upon publicity associated with the motorcycle crash of Findlay native and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a motorcycle-van collision Sunday near Williamsport, Pa., in which five people died to announce that it will hold a public forum on motorcycle safety on Sept. 12-13 in Washington.
The nation's motorcycle fatality rate has increased by more than 25 percent since 1997, the board noted, with 4,315 motorcyclists dying nationwide in crashes last year.
"At a time when highway fatalities have been decreasing, motorcycle fatalities have continued to increase, both in overall number and fatality rate," Debbie Hersman, an NTSB member who will preside over the forum, said in the announcement.
Added to the grim statistics will be Mr. Amor, who was riding westbound as Anthony Giannetti, 23, of North Canton, Ohio, was driving eastbound about 12:40 a.m. yesterday. Mr. Giannetti was in the turn lane and Mr. Amor was in the inside lane, Sgt. Paul Kerschbaum said.
Mr. Giannetti turned toward the parking lot across the westbound lanes toward the lot; Mr. Amor changed to the outside lane, and the two vehicles collided.
Police said the motorcycle skidded about 95 feet before stopping.
Mr. Amor, who was not wearing a helmet and was thrown from the bike, was later pronounced dead at Toledo Hospital. Mr. Giannetti, who was also treated for injuries at Toledo Hospital, said he didn't see Mr. Amor, Sergeant Kerschbaum said.
Police believe speed was a factor in the accident, which remains under investigation. Mr. Giannetti's seat belt usage is unknown.
Although Mr. Giannetti submitted to a blood-alcohol test, Sergeant Kerschbaum said he did not appear to be drinking and police do not believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.
The safety board decided several months ago to schedule the fall motorcycle safety forum, but it admitted that it issued the announcement yesterday to capitalize on the publicity surrounding recent cycle crashes, such as the one it is investigating in Pennsylvania in which a 20-year-old cyclist and four people in a van were killed.
Witnesses told authorities that the motorcycle involved was traveling about 100 mph before the crash.
It struck the van so hard that it penetrated the vehicle, overturned it, and caused an explosion.
In a telephone interview, Ms. Hersman said NTSB staff at the forum will lead six panel discussions examining aspects of motorcycle safety, including rider training and licensing, protective equipment, vehicle design, and public education of motorists and cyclists.
"We're going to be looking at all aspects of motorcycle riding, with an eye toward safety," Ms. Hersman said.
Blade Staff Write David Patch contributed to this report.
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