Drivers should take another look for motorcycles

Staff reporter

If the billboard saves just one life, it will be worth the effort for Mike Sechler of Hillsboro and other ABATE members.

District Nine ABATE of Kansas, which includes Marion County, is promoting a program for motorcycle awareness and safety which included the erection of a billboard on U.S.-56 just west of Goldenrod.

"Be aware! Look twice! Save a life! Motorcycles are everywhere!" is the slogan of the program, encouraging motorists to be mindful of the increasing number of motorcyclists on the road.

"May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and with Memorial Day weekend approaching, we want drivers to be aware of motorcycles on the roads," Sechler said.

Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke signed a proclamation regarding the designation of May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Hillsboro.

Yard signs also are available by contacting Sechler at (620) 947-2312 or at G&J Video, 426 E. Main, Marion.

Often when a motorcycle vs. car accident occurs, the driver of the car said, "I didn't see the motorcycle."

More than two-thirds of car-motorcycle crashes are caused by drivers, not motorcyclists.

Drivers tend to look for other cars, not motorcycles, and because of its smaller profile, a motorcycle is harder to see, and it may be more difficult to estimate the motorcycle's speed.

When do most motorcycle accidents occur?

When a left turn is being attempted in front of a motorcycle, a motorcyclist is riding in the blind spot of the car's driver and is not seen, road hazards that may not affect larger vehicles could be deadly for motorcyclists, and large vehicles such as SUVs, delivery vans, and large trucks may block a motorcycle from view and the motorcyclist may seem to suddenly appear.

ABATE recommends that drivers respect motorcyclists, and motorcycles should have all the privileges of any vehicle. Give motorcycles a full lane of the road. Look for motorcycles at intersections, look before turning, and signal if turning.

If changing lanes, signal and check blind spots. Always allow plenty of space and don't follow too closely. Allow motorcyclists room for evasive actions.

More than 300 motorcycle enthusiasts are members of District Nine which includes Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, McPherson, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Rice, Saline, and Washington counties with Marion County.

What is ABATE?

ABATE, "A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments" and "American Bikers Aimed Toward Education," is a motorcycle organization composed of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country. The group focuses on motorcycle legislation, safety education programs, public awareness programs, and other proposals designed to prevent fatal or injury accidents.

A neutral organization, ABATE allows all riders to join and keep legislators informed of any action that could be unfair or discriminatory toward motorcyclists.

For more information, contact an ABATE member.