May is Motorcycle Safety Month

The cyclist is very vulnerable to all around him and/or her. There is no protection like in a vehicle. We are responsible for wearing proper gear to ride, but we are still low profile.

We have responsibilities to help draw attention to us as we ride. So many times, the driver involved in the accident says, “I never saw the motorcycle coming.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, we lost two friends. The car stopped then pulled right out in front of them. There have been so many motorcycle accidents involved with other vehicles. The most common one is left turn in front of a cyclist.

Hand-held electronic devices

There are still many people on hand-held cell phones and we’ve seen several with dogs on their laps while driving, and good-sized ones, too. We’re afraid this would all take a person’s eyes and mind off the road.

We applaud those who pull off to the side of the road if they have a phone call. And there are still some playing a game called Pokemon Go, and they will walk right out in front of you in town sometimes, crossing the street.

In Celina, when the games came out, some teenagers playing the game drove right into the lake. Part of the car got hung up on some rocks. Lets all keep our hands off of electronic wireless communications and gaming devices as we drive. Lives depend upon it.

Grass clippings

While riding our cycles, we are noticing a lot of grass clippings being thrown out on the roads and streets. Grass clippings to a motorcyclist on pavement are like ice. We try to go around it to the other lane when we see this, but sometimes it isn’t possible if a vehicle is coming at us in the other lane. We hold our breath and pass the word to others if we are with some other cyclist for a warning.

We’re sure the person who threw them there would feel bad if there was a bad accident right there caused by the grass clippings. Grass clippings also can plug up the city drains and storm sewers. So, cities don’t want the grass clippings in the streets, either. It hasn’t been enforced, but there is a law on the books stating it is illegal.

Motorcyclist, be visible

1. Be sure your headlight(s) works and is on day and night.

2. Use reflective strips on jackets and helmets or bright colors.

3. Be aware of the blind spots cars and trucks have.

4. If unsure a motorist sees you, honk your horn.

5. Search the road for (grass clippings, grain, stone, etc., including dead animals) where you would have to check for other cyclist, if behind you, warn them by pointing down, check for traffic coming towards you and to the side and if all clear and no one passing, go out and around the debris or animal.

6. Always keep space safety margins so you can react to any road situation.

7. Use lane positioning to be seen, ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.

8. Watch for turning vehicles.

9. Signal your next move in advance.

10. Avoid weaving between lanes.

11. Give the motorist time and space to respond to you.

12. Make sure you know the rules of the road, and obey the speed limit.

We truly believe we should take a course once in a while no matter how long you’ve ridden. Keep your skill level high from year to year. Through these courses we improve on maneuverability, stopping and starting. And to always do a proper inspection of your bike before each ride.

Bonnie and David Bettinger

Motorist Awareness Chapter A