Drivers reminded to be more cautious following fourth recent motorcycle fatality in the state

Drivers reminded to be more cautious following fourth recent motorcycle fatality in the state
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POSTED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 12:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 12:34pm

Following the fourth motorcycle fatal crash in less than a week across south Louisiana, Troopers urge driver safety and safe riding practices to keep everyone safe on our roadways.

The most recent crash occurred this afternoon shortly before 3:30 p.m. on LA 435 approximately 4 miles north of the city limits of Abita Springs in St. Tammany Parish. The crash occurred as a 1988 Honda motorcycle, operated by Peter Gonsoulin, 51, of Covington, was traveling southbound on LA 435. As the Honda continued south, a 2012 Ford St. Tammany Parish goSTAT transport van failed to yield while making a left turn onto Money Hill Drive entering directly into the path of the motorcycle. The Honda bike subsequently impacted the front bumper of the van in a head on collision.

The driver of the van, Demond Mansion, 37, and passenger, Joe Tagert, 64, both of Covington, were properly restrained at the time of the crash and received no injuries. Mansion submitted to a breath alcohol test showing no detectable signs of alcohol in his system.

Gonsoulin was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash; however, did not have a motorcycle endorsement on his license. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office. Impairment is not suspected.

The Louisiana State Police would like to remind all motorists to safely "share the road" with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Following crashes, motorists often report difficulty in accurately judging the speed, size, and proximity of an approaching smaller vehicle specifically motorcycles. Troopers urge the public to remain vigilant while driving, never drive while fatigued or impaired, and avoid distracting activities, especially the temptations of electronic devices that can substantially divert a driver’s attention away from the road. In addition, riders should follow these safety guidelines to increase awareness and have a safe riding experience.

Be visible:
• Remember that motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles and reacting in time.
• Make sure your headlight works and is on day and night.
• Use reflective strips or decals on your clothing and on your motorcycle.
• Be aware of the blind spots cars and trucks have.
• Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.
• If a motorist doesn’t see you, don’t be afraid to use your horn.

Dress for safety:
• Wear a quality helmet and eye protection.
• Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet.
• Wear leather or other thick, protective clothing.
• Choose long sleeves and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
• Remember – the only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.

Apply effective mental strategies:
• Constantly search the road for changing conditions. Be aware of other traffic, road surfaces and debris.
• Give yourself space and time to respond to other motorists’ actions.
• Give other motorists time and space to respond to you.
• Use lane positioning to be seen; ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.
• Watch for turning vehicles.
• Signal your next move in advance.
• Avoid weaving between lanes.
• Don't ride when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
• Know and follow the rules of the road and stick to the speed limit.

Know your bike and how to use it:
• Practice. Develop your riding techniques before going into heavy traffic. Know how to handle your bike in conditions such as wet or sandy roads, high winds, and uneven surfaces.
• Get formal training and take refresher courses:

The Louisiana State Police offers a civilian Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Course. The department offers both a Basic Motorcycle Rider Course and an Advanced Rider Course. More information can be found at under “Training” or you can call 225-925-6113 ext 224.

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