LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– A recent hit-and-run crash in North Las Vegas prompted one man to start an online petition that calls for harsher penalties for those who hit motorcyclists.

Josh Talpas is a military veteran and long-time motorcycle rider who decided last year, he’s no longer riding on valley streets.

“You can be as defensive as you want, you’re always looking for a driver to pull out in front of you,” Talpas of North Las Vegas said. “But you only have a split second, and sometimes, you don’t have that reaction time. If somebody’s going to pull out in front of you, I mean, sometimes there’s no avoiding it.”

Talpas launched a Change.org petition to call attention to this issue. As of Saturday, December 3, he has nearly 1,600 signatures.

Talpas said he wants harsher penalties for those who crash into motorcyclists.

“Just seeing so many people, especially here in Vegas, getting killed, especially car versus motorcycle. It seems like every once a week,” Talpas said.

Adding to Talpas’ point, on Wednesday North Las Vegas Police said a moped with two passengers was rear-ended at the intersection of Belmont Street and East Dillon Avenue.

Neither was wearing a helmet, and a woman rider who is believed to be in her 40s was pronounced dead at the scene, according to officers.

North Las Vegas investigators asked for the public’s help in locating a pick-up truck that may have rear-ended the moped.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than someone in a car.

The most recent data from the group Zero Fatalities showed there were 38 deaths tied to motorcycle crashes in 2020. 

The College of Southern Nevada offers a beginner motorcycle riding course. Laurie Sanders is one of the instructors.

“Whether it’s a car or whether it’s a motorcycle, many of the crashes that happen are a result of somebody’s poor decision, poor choice,” Sanders said.

She’s been the motorcycle safety specialist at CSN for 25 years. The course is five hours of online learning and two days of meeting and riding.

Sanders said motorcycle riders are instilled with behaviors that will reduce their chances of being involved in a crash rather than eliminate them.

“How many times on your way to work are you stopped? The roads closed because somebody else made a poor decision?” Sanders said.

She added that motorcyclists can protect themselves by wearing a helmet and that cars need to slow down.