Motorcyclists must watch for farm equipment on rural roads

A Northwest Ohio motorcyclist was killed Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012, when he collided with a farm tractor driven by a 12-year-old boy.

Nathan Fought, 35, was northbound on Township Road 92 in Sandusky County around 12:50 p.m. when the boy pulled a tractor westbound from a private drive. Fought, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from his motorcycle, according to police reports. He was taken by air ambulance to the University of Toledo Medical Center where he died. The boy was not injured in the crash.

On Ohio’s rural roads and thousands of other country roads across our country, farm equipment and passenger vehicles must co-exist. For other motorists, the slow-moving farm equipment can be a nuisance, but it also can be dangerous for everyone if motorists are not paying attention.

Ohio State University’s Agricultural and Natural Resources department offers these tips for motorists when driving near farm equipment:

  • Be sure to practice extra caution when passing farm machinery. Never pass on a hill, a crest or a curve. Also, make sure no traffic is coming from the opposite direction: many accidents happen when passenger vehicles attempt to pass farm vehicles. Be patient, and wait until it’s safe to pass.
  • Remember that these vehicles don’t typically travel any faster than 25 mph. Motorists should slow down as soon as they see farm equipment on the roadway – and should always be prepared to stop.
  • Remember that farm vehicles are typically longer and wider than other vehicles.
  • Keep an eye out for the SMV (slow moving vehicle) sign and reflective tape on most slow-moving agricultural equipment.

Farmers are also encouraged to do their part: for example, when moving large machinery, law enforcement officials recommend traveling with an escort to alert other drivers. In addition, officials encourage the farmers to drive as far to the right as possible since farm equipment tends to take up a great deal of room on the road.

If everyone keeps their eyes on the road and uses a little extra caution, we can reduce the number of accidents involving farm equipment and save lives.

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