‘Share the road’ promotes safety

Published 12:00am Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trudy Obenhofer of Andalusia wishes more motorists would share the road with motorcycles.

After all, she nearly met an unfortunate end one day when driving along the bypass.

“I was cruising along near CenturyLink when a lady was in such a hurry to get to the Mexican restaurant that she nearly clipped me,” Obenhofer said. “If it hadn’t been for the Motorcycle Foundation safety course teaching me the proper way to brake, I would have crashed.”

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This month, the Alabama Department of Transportation along with state agencies, motorcycle clubs, businesses, safety groups and state and local law enforcement are reminding drivers and riders that motorcycle safety is a shared responsibility.

To heighten awareness about the importance of “sharing the road” with motorcycles during National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, ALDOT is encouraging all motorists to drive with caution to make Alabama’s highways safer.

“I think a lot of people underestimate the length of the bike and how fast we’re going,” Obehofer said. “When drivers look in the mirror, a lot of times, drivers don’t see us because we’re not as big as a car.”

On Thursday state transportation director John Cooper stressed that motorcycle riders and motorists must share the road to remain safe.

“As a matter of safety, it is necessary for motorcycle riders and drivers of other types of vehicles to use safe driving habits,” Cooper said. “To prevent injuries and deaths on Alabama’s roadways, motorcyclists and motorists must be vigilant in their efforts to share the road and ensure everyone’s safety.”

The leading causes of motorcycle crashes include speeding, misjudging stopping distance, following too closely and failure to yield right-of-way by all drivers. In 2012, preliminary data show there were 81 fatalities and 1,428 injuries from 1,830 crashes involving motorcycles in Alabama.

Motorcycle riders and motorists share many common safety rules such as paying special attention at intersections, staying out of blind spots, obeying all traffic laws, avoiding distractions and riding unimpaired. Motorists are also encouraged to follow at a safe distance and watch for motorcycles.

Through an advertising campaign promoting motorcycle safety on television, radio, billboards, movie screens, and printed material, ALDOT is focusing on what drivers and riders can do to develop appropriate driving habits so lives can be saved. Additionally, Gov. Robert Bentley has proclaimed May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”

To further promote public awareness, ALDOT is inviting the public to a motorcycle safety rally next Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership in Montgomery.

 

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