About 20 members of Freedom of Road Riders Local no.26 celebrated May as the Motorcycle Awareness Month. They gathered at the Break Time convenience store in Maryville, after which they hit the road for a ride-and-dine excursion to Savannah.
FORR has chapters statewide and they describe themselves as a non-profit motorcyclist rights organization that works on keeping two-wheel enthusiasts safe on the roads.
The group meets for short road trips, typically involving dinner at a nearby restaurant, at 6 p.m. each Tuesday throughout the summer. Break Time is the usual gathering spot.
May is generally the start of the peak motorcycling season, and FORR members try to make sure the “cage drivers” (that’s the people in cars) remember that there are motorcyclists all over the road.
Motorcycles have a much smaller sight profile than cars and trucks, and after a winter of not seeing bikes on the road, the riders say, other drivers simply aren’t looking for them.
“Look twice and save a life,” said veteran cyclist Roy Brown, 79, before this week’s FORR ride. “You have to remember what is a fender-bender in a car can be fatal on a bike.”
Brown is a retired U.S. Army officer and he has been riding for over 60 years. He also said that bikers themselves are on the other side of the safety equation, and that the rules of safety also include always riding sober, keeping your motorcycle in good shape and staying in good physical condition.
Kathy Rice, one of several women in the local FORR group, said it is also important for riders to be honest with themselves about their skill level and handle their machines accordingly.
“Don’t overextend your limits” in terms of speed and handling, Rice cautioned.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips to drivers on how they can help prevent motorcycle collisions:
- Allow motorcycles the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
Precautions for motorcyclists include:
- Always wearing a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet and other protective gear.
- Obeying all traffic laws and becoming properly licensed and trained.
- Wearing brightly colored clothes and reflective tape.
- Riding in the middle of the lane whenever possible in order to increase visibility.
Check out the Facebook page of Freedom of Road Riders for a chapter in your area!
(Source: Maryville Daily Forum)