Letter to the editor: Motorcycles back on the roads

Spring is here and American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education (ABATE) of Minnesota would like to remind motorists that motorcycle riders are back on the roads.

ABATE of Minnesota has 26 chapters throughout the state. Each chapter has their own way of helping to make May “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”

The most publicized is the “Great Minnesota Washout” that is organized by the Department of Public Safety and has participants all over the state that go to highway rest areas, wash motorist windshields and hand out literature. During May there will also be parades, information booths at various community functions and much more.

Anoka and Sherburne counties are home to many licensed motorcyclists. The number of motorcycles in Minnesota has grown significantly in the past few years, and with increased gas prices, it shows no signs of slowing.

Because motorcyclists are more vulnerable and more difficult to see in traffic, it is important for motorists to watch carefully for motorcycles. Drivers should take a second look and pay extra close attention at intersections, where most car-motorcycle crashes occur. Motorcyclists also have to work hard to help ensure that other drivers see them. Riders should take responsibility for their own safety by wearing brightly colored protective gear and using strategic lane positioning to see and be seen.

Motorcycles have been absent from the roads since last fall, and it takes awhile for motorists and motorcyclists to get “reacquainted.” Everyone – riders and drivers alike – should take great care to share the road safely.

Please remember to slow down, pay attention and start seeing motorcyclists! — Michelle Backlund, Elk River