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A reminder to share the road

Posted: May 8, 2014 - 4:20pm

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month events have taken on a somewhat somber mood this week, as reports of multiple motorcycle fatalities have been in the headlines in recent weeks.

Indeed, news that three motorcyclists had died in a collision last Saturday weighed heavily on participants in Sunday’s annual bike blessing at the Nikiski Church of the Nazarene.

“I’m sure when they woke up yesterday morning they were not thinking it would be their last day on Earth,” Nikiski resident Scott Hamann said at the event. “It serves as a somber reminder to make every day count and cherish your loved ones.”

It also serves as a wake-up call for all motorists to make themselves more aware while on the road, whether they’re riding on four wheels or two.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre issued a proclamation at Tuesday’s assembly meeting noting the increasing numbers of motorcycles on the road, as well as the fact that “motorcyclists everywhere face a constant threat to personal safety caused, in part, by lack of alertness on the part of the driving public.”

The Southern Peninsula chapter of A.B.A.T.E., Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education, recently reminded drivers to take a second look, use turn signals and avoid distractions while driving, such as cell phone use. A public service message from the Department of Public Safety urges motorcyclists to practice safe riding habits, including riding with the assumption that other drivers won’t see you. Likewise, drivers are urged to treat motorcyclists just as they would other vehicles, including giving adequate space when passing or following.

The borough’s proclamation urges all residents to drive safely, exercise extreme caution to reduce accidents and casualties this summer and to remain sensitive to the increasing number of motorcycles on the road.

We’d like to echo those sentiments, and wish everyone on the road safe travels this summer.

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Media Critic
Media Critic 05/12/14 - 05:56 am
Meet us halfway

I agree that motorcyclists have a tough road in Alaska. I do my best to "look twice" and think the burden is on me to help keep riders safe. (Same for bicyclists and pedestrians.) However, it would be nice if more motorcyclists would do their part. A few suggestions:

- Don't ride my blind spot - If you can't see me in my mirror, I can't see you.
- Come close to the speed limit when riding. If you're doing 90, chances are I didn't see come up on me in the 45 zone.
- Don't ride so close that if something happens to one of you, it happens to all of you.
- It may look cool to ride 10 under the speed limit in a big group, but it creates a safety hazard for everyone. Break it up or save the parade for the Fourth of July.
- Wear your helmet or pledge to pay all the medical bills associated with your "freedom."

Suss 05/12/14 - 08:09 am
My helmet-less medical bills

Helmet or no helmet, if you are at fault you will pay the bills for the cause of your carelessness. Look twice, then look again and turn your head when looking, not just a glance in both directions. Headlights on and all the protective gear one can buy does not stop the death or injury from inattentive drivers.

At least in a group of motorcycles their collective visibility increases the chances of being observed.

Many of the recent motorcycle fatalities were wearing helmets, should you pay double their value for killing or injuring a helmeted rider?

Please put your phone away, drive with care and watch out for all the people that share the road.

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