Motorcycle safety awareness emphasized

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

May has been declared Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Maplesville Mayor W. C. Hayes and Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver signed proclamations earlier this month as has Governor Kay Ivey.

Rickie “Dory” Waldrop of Leather and Lace Motorcycle Club, who lives in Maplesville, approached the mayors about signing the proclamations.

“To prevent injuries and deaths on Alabama’s roadways, motorcyclists and motorists must be vigilant in their efforts to share the road and ensure the safety of everyone,” a portion of the proclamation states.

“We are spreading every year trying to get more and more mayors to do it,” Waldrop said. “It’s nice to get your locals to acknowledge it.”

Leather and Lace has been asking mayors across the state and the governor to declare May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month for the past few years.

“Unfortunately in today’s lifestyle with cellphones it is getting worse all the time, there have been more deaths from accident involving cars and motorcycles,” Kelly “Leggs” Taylor, Leather and Lace Alabama High Cotton Chapter president, said.

Taylor said the majority of the time in accidents like this the driver of the car is at fault and says they didn’t see the motorcycle.

“Alabama is only one of out of only two states that does not require a motorcycle course,” Taylor said.

In January, the state did start requiring a written test for getting a motorcycle license.

One of the biggest things drivers can do to help keep motorcycles riders safe is stay off their cellphones, Taylor said.

She said the state needs to pass a law requiring the use of hands-free devices for calling.  Texting is also a safety issue, both drivers texting and those on motorcycles.

Waldrop said drivers need to check their mirrors.

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, ” Motorcycles often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance say three or four seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcycle may slow down without visual warning.”

In its “Quick Tips” publications, the foundation also cautions drivers to be aware that a motorcycle may appear farther away, than it really is.

Taylor said many incidents happen on regular streets, not the Interstate.