There are a lot of really great things about the month of May. Most of us have pulled our trusty steeds out of winter storage, completed our spring maintenance, and been out on at least our first ride of the season. We have shaken off the cold, and the cobwebs that seem to have become part of our very existence over the long, dark winter months, and there is a lightness in our step and a certain gleam in our eyes that was missing for the last little while– likely since the beginning of November if you are like me.
Some of us have booked an appointment for a motorcycle safety course, or an Experienced Riders Course, and others are thinking about upgrading our license, or our gear, or even our bikes.
But not everyone shares our passion. Not everyone has a desire to ride – or to learn to ride – a motorcycle. Not everyone is happy that we are out on the roads again.
Not everyone is watching for us.
And of those of us who do ride, none of us are as ready as we like to think that we are.
Which brings me to another great thing about the month of May. Maybe the greatest thing.
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.
There are events planned all across the USA and Canada to help promote Motorcycle Awareness and Motorcycle Safety. And the information provided is just as important for us as riders to learn as it is for non-riders to learn.
Yes, we want people who have been driving their cars, trucks and SUV’s all winter to be aware that we are going to be on the roads again now that the warmer weather is here. We want them to start looking for us, and to check, and double check their blind-spots and mirrors. We want them to allow us room to ride on the interstates and highways without being right on our rear fenders.
We want the respect that we are due as operators of motorized vehicles on our roads and highways.
And while we are thinking about all of those things that we want others to provide for us – let’s keep in mind that there are things that we, too, need to do in order to promote, support, and be a part of Motorcycle Safety and Awareness.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an ATGATT rider. All The Gear, All The Time. And I am also a believer in hi-viz riding gear.
I want to be seen by the operators of other motorized vehicles. So my helmet, a Bell RS-1, has some really noticeable, and Hi Viz graphics on it.
I also wear a fully Hi Viz adventure style jacket, and I have LED driving lights on my bike.
That may not be your cup-of-tea, but I can tell you that I was wearing all black leathers and a black half-lid when I was the victim of a left-turning cage last May.
“Oh my God, I didn’t see you” are words that I hope to never hear again.
I was wearing all of the gear when my accident occurred – including a Bell Pit Boss helmet – and that is more than likely why I am even alive to write this today.
We also need to be aware, as riders, that the majority of car and truck / SUV drivers on the roads in May are not thinking about whether or not it is a great day for riding today. They are not looking for us. We have been off the roads, at least in most of Canada, for the last 5 or 6 months.
So we need to ride accordingly. Pay attention to the vehicles on all sides of you – not just the one in front. Try to visualize the blind spots of the vehicles you are riding near. Don’t try to merge at above-highway speeds when traffic is moving at a crawl. Obey all traffic laws all of the time. It is what we are expecting of other drivers, after all.
Many local and regional government offices, in Canada and the USA, have gotten onboard with local motorcycle associations to promote the month of May as Motorcycle Awareness Month. Here are some links to events, information and projects that help to support motorcycle safety and awareness.
Please do what you can to promote Motorcycle Safety and Awareness. Share this information with your friends and loved ones – whether they ride or not – and please,
Ride safely my friends!