Well-known Clarksville biker cautions drivers during 'motorcycle season'

Warmer temperatures means more motorcycles are on the roads. (WSMV)

Motorcycle season is underway and with it comes yearly fears for the riders.

A collision killed a motorcycle rider in Clarksville Tuesday night.

A well-known biker in the community said he's seen this far too often.

Memories line the walls of Bill Langford's Poor Man's Country Club.

"That's ole Schmitty," laughed Langford, pointing to a black-and-white picture of a man on a motorcycle. "That's the world's ugliest knucklehead motorcycle."

"That's some of the boys over at the clubhouse," he said looking at another picture on the wall.

"You can hear the Harley Davidsons rumble by as we sit in here," Langford continued, looking out the window.

Bikers are Langford's family. Many have helped him in raising money for children's charities through Langford's Bikers Who Care.

"I've been riding a Harley Davidson since 1970," Langford said, thinking back on his decades in the biker community.

It’s those deep ties that make hearing about a motorcycle fatality so painful for him.

"It's too many of them, isn't it? It's way too many of them," he said.

Tuesday night, Clarksville police said a Nissan Pathfinder traveling east on 101st Airborne Parkway made a left onto Pea Ridge Road. Police said the driver crossed into the path of a motorcycle that collided with the car. The 25-year-old motorcycle driver died. His name has not been released. Police said charges are pending on the driver of the Nissan Pathfinder.

"You hope it's not one of your close friends," said Langford. "He's got a family too, so that's going to hurt regardless."

The latest numbers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol show 147 motorcyclist deaths in 2016. The numbers have fluctuated over the years, though there's been a general increase over 20 years. There were 42 Tennessee motorcycle fatalities in 1998. The highest number came in 2007 with 149. There have been more than 100 deaths every year since 2004.

"How do you promote motorcycle safety any more than we do?" asked Langford. "You've got to assume that car's not seeing you."

Langford said he can only give another reminder to just be alert on the road, even when those roads keep getting more dangerous.

"The motorcycle community's just getting larger and larger," he said. "Bikes are getting faster. Streets are getting more populated, more crowded. You've just got to watch out and be careful."

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