Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Month kicks off

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The state of Indiana has launched its annual Motorcycle Safety and Awareness campaign. It urges you to remember that cycle safety is a two-way street.

The statistics are sobering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than those inside cars to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured.

Indiana has about 200,000 registered motorcycles on the road. About 350,000 Hoosiers have motorcycle endorsements.

Veteran riders like Bill Smither say you need to learn an important lesson quickly.

“When you ride a bike you’ve got to be alert and be aware of things. You can’t take anything for granted. And if you see something, look at it,” he says.

In 2012, in Indiana there were 4,108 collisions involving motorcycles or mopeds–151 were fatalities. So the state is joining the rest of the nation in trying to make the roads safer.

“By formally proclaiming May 2014 as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in all 92 counties in the state of Indiana,” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

You’ll see posters asking riders to take responsibility.

“We believe motorcyclists should wear the proper safety gear when operating. It really plays a very important role in reducing injuries,” says Don Snemis the Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

And for motorists to be aware of and on the lookout for cycles.

“We don’t have fender benders when we have a collision. Somebody probably gets hurt. So we want to avoid those collisions,” says Jay Jackson, Executive Director of Abate of Indiana, a motorcycle safety group.

The governor also held a ceremonial signing of a new law, that is said to help with cycle safety. Often the bikes aren’t heavy enough to trigger a traffic light so riders were going through them. Now if they wait two minutes and proceed carefully they can treat a red light like a four way stop.

“It really is a safety issue. Because people were taking unnecessary chances before. Now there’s actually a process by which to deal with that,” said Jackson.

Motorcycle Safety Month is the campaign. But the governor points out, it’s people that will make it work.

“Hoosiers love our motorcycles. We love to be out on the highways and byways. And the more all of our motorists can appreciate that, as we go into the summer months, the safer our roads will be,” he says.

The commissioner of the BMV points out that riders who wear helmets reduce the chance of brain injury by 67 percent.

Along with Motorcycle Safety Awareness the BMV is also promoting its “Drive Now Text Later” campaign. You’ll be asked to put the phone away while you’re behind the wheel.

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