Watch for two-wheeled vehicles

  • Thursday, May 12, 2016 4:43pm
  • Opinion

With long sunny days and warming temperatures, it’s time for a reminder to drivers that we’re sharing the road with two-wheeled vehicles.

Gov. Bill Walker recently issued a proclamation declaring May to be Motorcycle and Motor Scooter Awareness Month. Alaska has one of the highest per-capita rates of motorcycle ownership in the nation, and with many peninsula residents and visitors getting out on two wheels, it is imperative that drivers be focused on driving — not the cell phone or the radio station — when behind the wheel.

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, such as cell phone use. A public service message from 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 proclamation, Gov. Walker notes 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, the proclamation states that “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.”

In other words, motorcycle safety is a two-way street, and courtesy, common sense and respect from everyone on the road can go a long ways toward a safe riding season.

Gov. Walker encourages “all Alaskan bikers to enjoy safe motorcycling in Alaska, and urge all drivers and motorcyclists to share the road safely and respectfully with each other.”

We’ll echo those sentiments, and wish everyone safe travels this summer. Now, hit the road!

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