BY RICHARD STURGEON
The Jemez Riders Motorcycle Association
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. With warmer weather, it’s time to remind everyone to be on the alert and to share the road with motorcyclists.
Riders who have been cooped up all winter are excited to be out on the road again. Both motorcyclists and motorists need to be aware of their surroundings. Checking blind spots, mirrors and using turn signals are necessary when changing lanes and when passing.
Distracted driving has been on the rise. Distractions during driving could mean the difference between seeing a motorcyclist or not when preparing to change lanes. Don’t let one text change anyone’s life forever!
Riders need to take precautions as well. Take a defensive driving course, wear protective gear and keep your bike in its best working condition. Also, be aware of any road hazards and dangerous weather conditions.
The motorcyclists of northern New Mexico would like to thank the Los Alamos County Council members for declaring May as Motorcycle Awareness Month for the fifth straight year.
The proclamation signed by Council Chair Sara Scott 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 laws 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 2020 as “MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH”in Los Alamos County, and urge our citizens to be observant, courteous and knowledgeable about motorcycle usage in our community.
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.