'Lightning Strike' technology keeps motorcyclists safer

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by Casey James

azfamily.com

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 10:40 AM

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PHOENIX -- Wednesday night's deadly motorcycle crash that killed two people at 99th Avenue and Buckeye is the latest in a string of serious motorcycle accidents in our state.

Now, one valley man is trying to make things safer for motorcycles riders.

Judd Smith is a retired engineer with a background in accident investigations.

"It put me in the engineering mode, so i got some wires and switches, things together," he says. 

Judd now co-owns "Lightning Strike". It's a lighting concept that allows drivers to see a motorcyclist anytime a rider feels threatened.

"When you hit it, it causes the lights to flash. Think of it just like a horn. You let go, it stops, you need to use it, hit it, and the lights come on," he explains.

42 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve a vehicle failing to yield to the motorcycle, according to the Highway Safety's loss data report.

Peter Krisch recently had the lights installed, and says in a month's time, they have already paid off.

"I'll be going straight through the intersection and a car will be waiting to make a left, and i just feel they might be turning in front of me at that point, so I'll quickly flash these lights and I'll see the results; they stop and quickly look at me."

Judd says the first step a rider needs to take to stay safe is obey traffic laws and wear a helmet. He says the lights just heighten the awareness of those around you.

"It catches your eye so you see them," he says. "It's a defensive tool for your tool box. There is no guarantee on anything. This system is to make you more visible; you still need to be inherently aware of your riding and riding skills."

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