May Declared ‘Motorcycle Awareness Month’ In Los Alamos County

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Los Alamos County Councilor Katrina Schmitt presents a proclamation declaring May ‘Motorcycle Awareness Month’ in Los Alamos County to Brett Chandler. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ 

Los Alamos County Council members Tuesday evening proclaimed May “Motorcycle Awareness Month” in Los Alamos County.

“We really appreciate the efforts of Council to do this. We’ve come a long way since we first established the Motor Cycle Safety Committee at LANL,” said Brett Chandler while accepting the proclamation. “We’ve created a group called the Jemez Riders.We have more than 360 members currently and they are an active bunch of physicist and radiochemists and biologists. We may not stand up to the Sons of Anarchy well but we have one common goal and that is to come home safely to our families”.

Chandler said in 2018 there were 1,100 crashes involving motorcycles in New Mexico, 47 of which resulted in fatalities. He said people not being aware of motorcycles is usually the base cause.

“A left hand turn in front of a motorcyclist and that’s just the brick wall that we hit,” Chandler said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says because vehicle drivers control a much larger machine, it is imperative that they keep close watch for motorcyclists who may be riding nearby. Drivers may follow these tips to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

  • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has the same rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and the motorcyclist could have forgotten to turn it off. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more follow distance—three to four seconds—when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

The proclamation reads as follows:

WHEREAS:  Motorcycles are used as a regular means of transportation for commuting, touring and recreational use in and around Los Alamos County; and

WHEREAS:  Our scenic roadways make Los Alamos a very popular destination for motorcyclists from around the country; and

WHEREAS:  The safe operation of a motorcycle requires the use of acquired skills developed through a combination of training and experience, the use of good judgment, and thorough knowledge of traffic la

ws and licensing requirements; and

WHEREAS:  It is imperative that our residents be aware, show consideration and share the road with motorcycles on our streets and state highways, and recognize the importance of motorcycle safety; and

WHEREAS:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared the month of May as “Motorcycle Awareness Month” and the Council wishes to join them in educating residents about the growing number of motorcyclists on Los Alamos County’s roadways – working together, we can prevent accidents and most importantly, save lives;

NOW, THEREFORE, on behalf of the Council of the Incorporated County of Los Alamos, I do hereby proclaim the Month of May 2019 as “MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH”in Los Alamos County, and urge our citizens to be observant, courteous and knowledgeable about motorcycle usage in our community.