Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Denise Derkacs presents a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Awareness Month to Richard Sturgeon and other members of the Jemez Riders Riding Club Tuesday evening during the regular Council meeting. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Members of the Jemez Riders Riding Club at Tuesday’s Los Alamos County Council meeting. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Richard Sturgeon, president of the Jemez Riders Riding Club, and several members of the club attended Tuesday’s Los Alamos County Council meeting where they accepted a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Los Alamos County. The County joins 32 other counties who have signed similar proclamations at Sturgeon’s request, as well as Gov. Michelle Lujan and District 5 Sen. Leo Jaramillo.
Sturgeon thanked Council for having the Club present, adding that as Council could see by the Jemez Riders turnout at the meeting, the proclamations mean a lot to them.
“These safety measures don’t always have to do with the traffic. Sometimes they have to with the weather and that’s on the riders, but the traffic issues are why we write these proclamations. As we head into the riding season, you’ll notice more and more motorcycles on the roads. New Mexico saw a 130 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities from 2020 to 2021 and the motorcycle community sees that as a failure,” Sturgeon said.
He said more needs to be done on both sides to bring these numbers down so the Jemez Riders are not only attempting to raise awareness for drivers through the annual proclamations, but also trying to make a difference by making a pledge to each other.
“Patches that we wear on our cuts say that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. What our promise means is that we accept responsibility to ensure that those that we ride with are in the proper state of mind and that bikes are in a proper mechanical state and they are ready to be ridden,” Sturgeon said. “By putting these patches on not only have we committed to watching out for our friends but that we will also accept their direction if they tell us that our motorcycle is unsafe or that maybe we aren’t in the proper state of mind to be on the bike. It’s a big responsibility but it’s one we’re all proud to take on.”
He noted that 42 percent of all car versus motorcycle accidents happen when a vehicle at an intersection is making a left hand turn.
“Many of these accidents would be avoided if the vehicle driver looked twice to their left,” Sturgeon said.
In 2016, Sturgeon and the Jemez Riders actually filmed a short motorcycle safety PSA in Los Alamos which may be viewed at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edzg4XjDPZY
The proclamation, which was presented by Council Vice Chair Denise Derkacs, reads as follows:
WHEREAS, motorcycles are used as a regular means of transportation for commuting, touring and recreation in and around Los Alamos, New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, the Los Alamos scenic roadways make motorcycling a very popular destination for riders 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 the residents of Los Alamos be aware, show consideration and share the road with motorcycles on the streets and highways and recognize the importance of motorcycle safety; and
WHEREAS, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared May as “Motorcycle Awareness Month”; it is the desire of this County Council to join the NHTSA in raising awareness of the growing number of motorcyclists on Los Alamos County’s roadways in order to help 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, 2022 to be MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH in Los Alamos County, and urge our citizens to be observant, courteous and knowledgeable about motorcycle usage in our community.
DATED this 3rd day of May 2022
Randall Ryti, Chair
Los Alamos County Council