Seeking safety, police weave through cones

Training aims to curb crashes, deaths

4/24/2014
BLADE STAFF
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Officer Scott Swartz weaves through orange cones during the Toledo Police Department motorcycle unit’s monthly training session at Owens Community College in Perrysburg Township.

THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

Officer Scott Swartz weaves through orange cones during the Toledo Police Department motorcycle unit’s monthly training session at Owens Community College in Perrysburg Township.
Officer Scott Swartz weaves through orange cones during the Toledo Police Department motorcycle unit’s monthly training session at Owens Community College in Perrysburg Township.

Toledo police Officer Andre Antoine maneuvered his motorcycle through a set of orange cones, coming to a sudden stop.

“Thirty-five at the gate,” yelled an officer taking speeds with a radar gun.

Officer Antoine, under the direction of Sgt. Tyson Coates, navigated his Harley-Davidson around cones to his left.

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“What this simulates is something happening, and they can’t go straight — they need to go left or right,” said Sergeant Coates, who oversees the department’s motorcycle unit and conducted a monthly training session with officers on Wednesday.

With seven fatal motorcycle crashes that resulted in eight deaths in Toledo last year, police are asking drivers to be more cautious. One other fatal crash was reported in Lucas County in 2013.

“We don’t want a repeat of last year,” said police Lt. Jeff Sulewski, who oversees the department’s traffic unit.

The lieutenant said there has been one fatal motorcycle crash in Toledo this year.

To draw attention to motorcyclists that might be on the roads, the motorcycle unit opened its monthly training session at the Owens Community College Center for Emergency Preparedness in Perrysburg Township to the media, demonstrating proper braking techniques and addressing the need for all drivers to be alert. Sergeant Coates said many accidents happen because motorcyclists don’t brake properly.

Officer Rick Fisher, a member of the unit, said roadways would be safer if drivers paid better attention to the streets and did not use cell phones while driving. He also cautioned motorcyclists to observe posted speed limits and to not drive recklessly.