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June 3, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

We all know that every month is “something or other” or “this and that” month. As it happens, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and, although it may seem a bit hokey, there is good reason to take the event seriously.

The focus of Motorcycle Awareness Month is, literally, awareness. To be safe, drivers must be aware that, as they make turns, change lanes or negotiate intersections, they need to look carefully for motorcycles. Fully two thirds of all motorcycle deaths involve collisions with other vehicles. Motorcycles are comparatively small and can easily disappear into an automobile’s blind spot. It’s also easy to miss seeing a motorcycle when pulling into traffic. Drivers also need to be aware that motorcycles can stop in much shorter distances than cars, so it is important to increase the amount of space between your car and a motorcycle in front of you.

Clearly, it’s important to make drivers aware and get them to look more carefully and pay better attention in traffic. However, we can’t count on that, so it is incumbent upon riders to do everything possible to avoid tangling with a larger vehicle. This is where defensive riding comes in. It’s been said that they best defense is a good offense. Not true in this case. On the open road, it’s all about self preservation.

You’re Invisible. They are idiots

Our best advice is to ride as if you are invisible and the people around you driving cars and trucks are all idiots, which in many cases might be true. Well, not the invisible part. Seriously, defensive riding means assuming the car about to pull out from a side street cannot see you, the truck next to you is about to change lanes and the guy behind you will not notice when you apply the brakes.

As you ride, be aware that you might need a way out of trouble at any moment. If you try to keep an escape route open at all times, it will eventually become a habit. Then, when you need to get out of the way, you’ll be able to do so. Remember, heading off onto the shoulder or into a cornfield is pretty much fun free, but it’s not nearly as bad as tangling with a Buick full of otherwise nice people.

So, how do we give the driving public a gentle reminder? Recently, the following status statement has been appearing on Facebook. The source is unknown. We think it is appropriate for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. If you agree, post it to your Facebook page and urge your friends to do the same.

Instead of telling someone who rides a motorcycle how dangerous it is…Look twice before changing lanes or pulling out of a driveway…Stay on your side of the road, especially in corners and curves…Don’t follow too closely…Keep your eyes on the road and off the cell phone…This truly is life and death!! If you care about someone who rides a motorcycle, please re-post.

If drivers and riders become more aware, sharing the roads will be much safer and riding will be even more fun than it already is. Enjoy riding in May, you can bet we will!!


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