The Sherman Police Department capped off a week-long crash reconstruction course on Thursday with controlled collisions between motorcycles and passenger vehicles.

Six motorcycles and three vehicles were used for the crashes, which were staged in a parking lot at the Sherman Bible Church. The motorcycles carried either one or two passengers and were towed at speeds of roughly 40 miles per hour before crashing directly into the side of a stationary vehicle. The course was taught by instructors with the South Carolina-based Traffic Safety Training Center and attended by Sherman Police officers, as well as Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.

“What these guys are trying to do is prepare themselves for a future motorcycle-versus-vehicle crash,” Sherman Police Sgt. Sam Boyle said. “So they’ll know the little intricacies of a two-wheeled vehicle as opposed to four-wheeled vehicles.”

Boyle explained that while officers go through crash reconstruction courses during their initial training, the life-like scenarios used Thursday better equipped them to understand how and why a collision occurred.

“As in a lot of things, details are very important,” Boyle said. “I heard them talking earlier about paying attention to how blue jeans will transfer onto the paint of a motorcycle and things like that. These are minute details that can make or break an investigation.”

TSTC owner Dale Smith said the popularity of motorcycles has grown recently and because the number of bikes on the road is going up, so too are the number of crashes.

“With fuel prices going up, more and more people are riding bikes,” Smith said. “Of course, the summer, spring and fall months are a great time to ride a motorcycle, so you have a lot more collisions then too.”

Smith encouraged the drivers of passenger vehicles to keep an eye out for motorcycles as they’re often more difficult to see than a full-sized car. But Smith said motorcyclists can also take steps to protect themselves when on the road.

“You have to ride like you’re invisible,” Smith said. “You have to ride like nobody can see you because most people don’t see a motorcycle. They look through it because they don’t see it as a threat.”