It’s a sure sign of spring.
No, we haven’t yet spotted a robin, but we have started seeing motorcyclists out enjoying the sunshine on Kenai Peninsula roadways.
Alaska has one of the highest per capita rates of motorcycle ownership in the nation, and after our long, cold winter, and with ice and snow gone from many roadways, it should come as no surprise to see motorcycle enthusiasts out doing what they love.
While May is generally designated as Motorcycle Awareness Month, with plenty of motorcyclists already on the road, now is a good time to remind drivers to keep an eye out. It is crucial that drivers be focused on driving — not the cell phone or the radio station — when behind the wheel. While the ice and snow may be gone and the long daylight hours back, operating a motor vehicle still requires 100 percent of the driver’s attention.
The Southern Peninsula chapter of A.B.A.T.E., Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education, reminds drivers to take a second look, use turn signals and avoid distractions while driving. And the Department of Public Safety urges motorcyclists to practice safe riding habits, including riding with the assumption that other drivers won’t see you.
In his 2016 Motorcycle Awareness Month proclamation, Gov. Bill Walker noted that “motorcycles are motor vehicles with the same roadway rights, responsibilities, and privileges as other motor vehicles, and should be treated with the same courtesy and care as any other motorist.
Drivers are urged to share the road with motorcyclists, not to tailgate riders, and watch for motorcyclists approaching from behind, particularly in a vehicle’s blind spot.”
Likewise, “motorcyclists and motor scooter riders can help ensure their safety by attending a motorcycle rider training course; wearing helmets, eye protection, and other protective gear; checking the motorcycle before riding; remaining constantly alert; being as conspicuous as possible on the road; and obeying all traffic laws.”
The riding season is off to a great start, and with road crews out cleaning up the sand and debris winter has left behind, we expect to see more and more motorcyclists on Kenai Peninsula in the coming weeks.
We encourage all motorists — those on two, four, or more wheels — to do their part to make it a safe and enjoyable riding season for everyone.