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May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Updated May 2, 2014 7:05 AM | Filed under: Public Safety
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(UNDATED) - As the weather gets warmer, motorcyclists want to remind everyone to watch out for them on the roads.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and every year, ABATE of Indiana holds an event on Monument Circle downtown to remind the public to watch out for bikers. "We are smaller, so there's less reflective area, less surface area, it's easier to lose us in traffic," said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE. "It's been a long, cold winter, we haven't seen many motorcycles, folks get a little lazy in not looking for them, so this will hopefully remind folks to do just that."

Most accidents involving motorcycles also involve at least one other vehicle, and 2012 statistics from the state show that in two-thirds of those accidents, the driver of another vehicle violated the right of way of the motorcycle. But safety awareness is also geared toward the occasional biker who weaves quickly in and out of traffic. "All of us have our factions where some people are less responsible than others, but most of us don't want to get hurt. Riding responsibly and as safely as we can is important to us," Jackson said.

That doesn't mean motorcyclists have to wear helmets - they are not mandated under Indiana law, but the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has its own campaign that encourages helmet use. "There's no law on wearing a helmet, but there's also no law against us promoting it," said BMV Commissioner Don Snemis, who is also a motorcyclist. "We want to see motorcycle riders ride with a helmet, because there's about two-thirds less chance of a serious brain injury if you (crash) while wearing a helmet."

Governor Pence used the ABATE event to hold a ceremonial bill signing for a new law that allows motorcyclists who are stuck at red lights because their bikes are too light to activate a signal change to run those red lights if they can do safely after two minutes of waiting. "Our highways and byways are free and open to motorcyclists, and our laws reflect a deep commitment to the safety of motorcyclists," Pence said.

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