Motorcycle safety

Signs promoting motorcycle safety can be found across the county this month, as May is Motorcycle Safety Month.

Jace Long, Operation Save a Life instructor and member of the local Highlanders ABATE chapter in Huntingdon, will be heading to Huntingdon Area High School Tuesday, May 21, to teach kids about motorcycle safety, regardless of their daily ride. According to Long, “The program is designed to teach a young drivers how to interact with motorcycles on the road.”

Long has already visited Mount Union Area High School and Juniata Valley High School for Operation Save a Life and will visit Southern Huntingdon County High School May 31. The classroom visits are part of the American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education (ABATE) incentive being run concurrently with Motorcycle Safety Month and encourages all drivers to, “Look Twice, Save a Life.”

Long explained to The Daily News that when one’s driving a car, “You have four walls and a roof. I have one floor that can give out at any point.” During visits, Highlanders members ride in numbers to local schools, giving the students an opportunity to ask questions about motorcycles and the safety. The idea is that new and potential drivers will be thinking about motorcycles from the start of their driver’s training and the attention to detail required to effectively share the road will be engrained in them from the beginning.

For those who are planning to purchase their first motorcycle, Long explains that the best advice is the simplest. “It’s very important to take the Motorcycle Safety Course.” The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program offers classes starting in March and running until October. There are training sites all around Pennsylvania.

The classes take place over a single weekend and offers training for all levels, including new, experienced, and veteran riders. After the class, which includes both classroom instruction as well as hands on experience with the bikes, students can take the test for their motorcycle license on the spot.

While one aspect of Motorcycle Safety Month is designed to promote safety practices among motorcycle riders, the other side of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of standard motorists. Long explained that the responsibility is shared, but asks drivers to, “always keep your eyes and ears open. Without you paying attention, there’s only so much we can do to prevent an accident.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, while motorcycle crashes dropped 35 in 2017, motorcyclists still represent a high percentage of overall traffic fatalities. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, they encourage both motorcyclists and regular motorists to share the road and be alert. Motorcycle Safety Month is an annual event that promotes a safe driving experience for all drivers.

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