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Motorcyclist reminds drivers to ‘double look’ after fire chief was hit while riding

Fire Chief Bryan Hawk suffered critical injuries after the accident in Holton Township
Posted at 6:02 PM, Jul 19, 2021

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Troy Berean’s main piece of advice for all drivers is to always look twice, especially when motorcycles are present.

“Three times even,” he said during an interview with FOX 17 on Monday.

Berean is an avid motorcycle rider and works at the Harley Davidson shop in Muskegon. He said he loves to ride because it’s freeing and he admires the scenery in Michigan.

However, safety is first.

“Give us some room and give us a little extra look and we’ll be happy with everything you do past that,” he said.

On Sunday in nearby Holton Township, a man identified by law enforcement as Fire Chief Bryan Hawk, was hit while riding his motorcycle at the intersection of Riley Thompson Road and Holton Road. He was thrown 40-60 feet from the crash and was not wearing a helmet.

“I was helping a customer [when] we heard tires screeching on pavement,” Megan Olson recalled. “And the customers turned around and were looking. So, I ran outside and saw a guy laying in the road with his motorcycle on its side.”

Olson remembers calling 9-1-1 as people immediately rushed to aid the man.

“The customer that I was helping at the time, her husband was a doctor,” Olson said. “So, he ran over to help out before paramedics got here.”

Chief Hawk was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. As of Monday afternoon he remained there, said Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office via text.

"Another common misconception is people think that since a motorcycle is light that they can stop on a dime when really it’s just the opposite," Berean said. "It does take some of them a while to get to a complete stop depending on speed. But, if you’re at a main road or highway speed, a good three car lanes or four car lanes is something that you should maintain at all times.

According to Michigan's Office of Highway Safety Planning, “motorcyclist fatalities increased from 122 in 2019 to 152 in 2020." It jumped 25 percent.

Berean believes one way to prevent this is for cars and other vehicles not to tail motorcyclists.

“For bikes if you get nervous and somebody is driving too close, pull over,” Berean said. “Let them go by if they’re in a hurry.”

Michigan State Police recommend on their website that riders also wear helmets, eye gear and bright colors. As for drivers, they suggest giving riders as much room as possible.

Berean added that one of the best steps people can take keep the roads safe for everyone is to train the youth on road safety so they’re prepared when they become drivers themselves.

“Double look. It doesn’t take but a second to double look,” Berean said. “Now, teach the kids to find bikes. Keep score on how many bikes you can see. What that does is it gets the next generation keeping an eye out for bikes as they learn to drive.”