The weather hit 70 degrees and then-some in Caledonia this week — temperatures that make motorcycle riders antsy to get out on the road.
Perfect timing, as May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month.
According to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
More than 500,000 Wisconsin residents have motorcycle licenses or permits and more than 300,000 motorcycles are registered in the state.
"During May, which is national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we’re reminding motorists to share the road and watch for motorcycles, especially at intersections and while making turns and lane changes," said Greg Patzer, manager of the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program, which is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. "For their part, motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws and never ride while impaired. They should always wear protective and conspicuous clothing and gear, including a helmet that meets or exceeds US DOT standards.
"Riding a motorcycle also takes more physical skill and mental concentration than driving a car. Becoming a lifelong learner through formal training is critical to a rider’s safety. On average for the last five years, traffic crashes annually have killed nearly 100 motorcyclists and injured approximately 2,500. And most of these deaths and injuries could be prevented if motorists would share the road and motorcyclists were well trained and always rode within their limitations."
To save lives and reduce injuries from crashes, the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program has provided rider training for 30 years and has graduated more than 153,000 riders in that time. The Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program recently expanded its courses to offer comprehensive training for riders at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced. For information about rider training courses and locations, visit the WisDOT website.
In addition, the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program will hit the road again this year with its mobile training facility, called THE REF (Transportable High-End Rider Education Facility), to reach out to motorcycle riders and motorists around the state. THE REF promotes training for all riders as well as motorists’ awareness of motorcycles on the road. Last year, THE REF traveled throughout the state to motorcycle rallies, festivals and other events in more than 40 locations.
"THE REF goes to where the riders are," Patzer says. "Designed to be non-intrusive, while still offering the most critical of survival tips, THE REF encourages both riders and non-riders to learn more about sharing the road, crash avoidance, and awareness of road and traffic hazards."
For more information about THE REF, visit www.zeroinwisconsin.gov.
As motorcycles continue to grow in popularity among men and women of all ages, Patzer said "we need well trained and responsible riders along with motorists who share the road to help reach the goal of reducing the number of preventable traffic deaths to Zero In Wisconsin.'