With the beginning of Motorcycle Awareness Month on May 1, the American Motorcyclist Association is issuing a special appeal to motorists to be aware of their driving environment, check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and, especially, to watch for motorcyclists.
“The warmer weather in May brings out the riders who have been unable to ride all winter, so it presents an excellent opportunity for us to educate the non-riding public about the safety issues that affect motorcyclists every time we roll out of our driveways or onto a trail,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. “The AMA is monitoring more than 1,124 state and federal bills that would affect motorcycling safety or motorcyclists’ rights, including many that deal with rider safety.”
Among the top awareness issues in 2015 are distracted driving and the need for motorcyclist and driver training.
Sean Hutson, AMA government affairs manager for on-highway issues, said state legislatures are considering more than 150 bills that deal with distracted driving. Those bills range from prohibitions on minors using personal electronic devices to bans on the use of electronic devices by any driver.
Rather than solely seeking bans on specific forms of behavior, though, the AMA advocates legislation that includes enhanced penalty options to be determined by the courts in cases where distracted driving results in a crash.
In addition, the AMA supports training programs for motorcyclists — including advanced skills courses – and more thorough education for motorists. A new law in Michigan, for example, requires motorcycle- and bicycle-awareness and safety instruction in all of the state’s courses for new drivers.
Drivers can avoid crashes with motorcyclists by taking extra care and looking twice to spot motorcycles in traffic — especially at intersections — respecting the motorcyclists’ space on the road and by not following too closely.
Motorcycle Awareness Month, launched by the AMA in the early 1980s and adopted by many state motorcycle-rights organizations, government entities and AMA-sanctioned clubs, is observed each May.
For more information: www.americanmotorcyclist.com.