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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, at least here in Minnesota.  Back in 2010, my mom actually played an important part in having May proclaimed as Motorcycle Awareness Month.  Both of my parents as well as myself are card-carrying members of A.B.A.T.E. of MN which stands for American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education.  Our organization participates in grass roots lobbying for motorcycle rights, but we are also active in our communities to draw attention to motorcycle safety.  One thing that I aim to do in the near future is to present “Share the Road” courses to driver’s license permit holders.  This class lets motorists understand how to drive around single motorcyclists, packs of motorcyclists, etc. and reviews common situations that they may encounter including:

– How a motorcyclists uses the lane (may “weave” within the lane to dodge debris and optimize visibility)
– How much following distance you should leave behind a motorcycle  (as much as you leave for a car–if not more.  Just because it’s a smaller vehicle, doesn’t mean you should leave less room.)
– How a blind-spot can be no wider than a pencil width – so look twice! you may save a life.
– How to pass a pack of motorcycles – don’t break into the pack.
– and more!

I think that programs like this help to reduce injuries and fatalities in our communities and it lets them see that a “biker” isn’t someone scary and intimidating–a biker can be someone just like you.

Here’s the declaration from 2010.  I’m so proud to see my mom sporting her “Share the Road” yellow t-shirt when the video pans to the left at the end of the proclamation:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/11526393″>Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – ABATE</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/mc22″>Mediacom Connections</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

“Proclamation from the state of Minnesota:

Whereas an energy efficient vehicle that effectively reduces fuel consumption and contributes to the lessening of traffic and parking congestion, the motorcycle is an increasingly popular means of transportation for commuting, touring and recreational uses.

Whereas there is a growing need for cooperation among automobile drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to reduce injuries and fatalities when using our streets and highways. And Whereas it is beneficial for all Minnesotans to increase their knowledge of the laws regarding the use of roadways,and where as the annual observance of motorcycle safety awareness month calls attention to the importance of safe motorcycle operation, increased rider training, improved licensing efforts and motorist awareness.

Whereas by working together to increase th eknowledge of the needs of all road and highway users while encouraging users to exercise added caution, we can strive to make our roads safery thereby enabling motorcyclists throughout minnesota to have an enjoyable riding season.

Now, therefore, I, Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota proclaim the month of May 2010 to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

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