Celebrate motorcycle awareness in May

By Tara Heffelfinger

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. With the motorcycle-riding season upon us, I have some really important questions for my friends, neighbors and fellow road users. When was the last time you saw someone on a motorcycle riding down the road? Did it startle you a little when you saw him or her? Statistics show that more than half of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a car or truck driver who said they just did not see the motorcycle until it was too late.

Motorcycle sales have more than doubled in the past 10 years. That means the likelihood of someone you know riding a motorcycle has more than doubled, too. And that rider isn’t just a statistic; he or she is one of your neighbors and someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, sister or brother.

I would like to urge you to take time to look twice before changing lanes or turning across other lanes of traffic. Motorcycles can stop much faster than larger vehicles, so don’t follow us too closely. Keep in mind that motorcycles ride to one side of the lane to avoid the slick oil buildup in the middle.

Above all, please be aware—motorcycles are everywhere.

One of the primary responsibilities of all drivers is to share the road with all types of vehicles. That is why A.B.A.T.E. (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) has developed a program that teaches tens of thousands of drivers each year about motorcycle awareness. In fact, we have taught more than 150,000 participants statewide in the past four years alone.

The A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Motorcycle Awareness Program originally was developed with the new and inexperienced driver in mind. However, it has been expanded to also include adult drivers.

Since January, our local chapter, Kishwaukee Valley Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois, has taught approximately 500 people about motorcycle awareness. We are doing our part to ensure our safety on the roads, so please do your part and watch out for us when you are driving your car or truck.

For more information concerning the motorcycle awareness program, or information concerning Kishwaukee Valley Chapter of A.B.A.T.E., please contact Pat Thomas, vice president, at 815-874-2757. Help my friends and me have a safe motorcycle-riding season. Look twice and save a life.

Tara Heffelfinger is media coordinator for the Kishwaukee Valley Chapter of A.B.A.T.E.

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