It’s May. That means its Motorcycle Awareness Month. There are proclamations, bills introduced into respective state legislatures, public service announcements, and lots of press releases. And that’s great. But it’s not enough.
Motorcycle – and motorcyclist – awareness must be an everyday task. It needs to be a part of everyone’s routine. All the time. Not just in May. Federal and state public education dollars need to be allocated every month for this purpose. It needs to be a part of every driver’s education course (auto and truck), DMV driver’s license renewals, and more. In other words, we need to make motorcycle awareness for all roadway users mandatory, not a once-a-year campaign.
We need more research. MSF is putting its money where its “mouth” is on this. The MSF has invested $2.4 million since 2010 in research initiatives that support ongoing curriculum development and quality assurance programs for its Rider Education & Training System and Basic RiderCourse motorcyclist training program. MSF recently partnered with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study. Video cameras and data acquisition sensors are being used to track the actions of 100 riders over the course of a year to create a comprehensive assessment of the many factors contributing to both crashes and near-crashes and the common everyday riding situations.
We need innovative and modern ways to reach everyone, from a prospective motorcyclist and his/her family to car and truck drivers. If you haven’t yet, check out MSF’s “Intersection” and “Rider Choices” iBooks.
We need to continually enhance rider education and training. From Dr. Ray Ochs, MSF vice president of training systems: “We continue to increase our understanding of rider and other roadway user behaviors to direct improvements in our curricula that lead to improved student outcomes and a safer riding environment overall. We’ve just completed a significant update to our most popular course, the Basic RiderCourse, with new classroom content focused on rider behavior, risk awareness and risk management. And, we’ve added new range exercises that focus on earlier acquisition of fundamental skills with an emphasis on the traffic situations that students will encounter on the road.”
Some may consider the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s stated goal to eliminate motorcycle crashes and fatalities as just “PR.” I promise you it’s a real goal, one our staff “lives” every day – as they ride to and from work, as they collaborate with our many partners, as they conduct new research, and as they develop new curricula.
What are your ideas?