May is Motorcycle Awareness Month - Sunshine Beer
Although a handful of motorcyclists have been out riding all year round and/or for the past several weeks, May marks the “unofficial” start of the riding season for many riders. We really start seeing some truly grand riding weather, and folks start rolling out their rides. It’s this transitional period between winter storage and the beginning of two-wheeled work commutes and weekend rides that can be the most dangerous for riders for a number of reasons.
Riders’ skills may not be as sharp until the figurative cobwebs are dusted off. Of course, a great way to dust off the cobwebs is to take a one-day refresher class such as the Experienced Course or a Cornering or Braking Skills Practice clinic. Yep, it’s a shameless plug… but heck, it’s our newsletter – we can do that, right?
In all seriousness though, the combination of riders’ dulled skills after a long winter break and drivers who are not actively looking for motorcyclists can be a lethal combination. As riders, we have the burden of responsibility to keep ourselves as safe as possible by keeping our skills sharp and by reminding drivers that we’re out sharing the road again. A terrific way of reminding the public that it’s riding season is to participate in one of the May Motorcycle Awareness Rallies. As in years past, there is a big rally in Boise as well as one in Coeur d’Alene. Both rallies are scheduled the first Saturday of the month – May 2nd.
The Boise Rally meets at Sandy Point Park at Lucky Peak. The parade of bikes leaves the park at 1pm (you’ll want to get there earlier to get lined up!) and rides in formation at a nice slow pace with police escort down Hwy 21 to Federal Way and down to the Capitol steps where some folks will say a few words, read the Governor’s Proclamation and play the national anthem. The Boise Rally is followed by a barbeque at Municipal Park, sponsored by the Christian Motorcyclist Association. The burgers are inexpensive and very tasty.
The Coeur d’Alene Rally is also a fabulous, well-organized event. Riders gather at the Kootenai County Courthouse at 11am for the Pledge of Allegiance and guest speakers. The parade then leaves the courthouse, also with a police escort, and rides right through downtown Coeur d’Alene.
No RSVP is necessary for either rally – just show up on your bike. I’ve participated in both rallies many times, and I’ve always been glad I did. Both are fun events and can be quite an impressive sight. I’m awed each year by the turnout and the friendly waves from the people watching us go by. I encourage you to be a part of the event – the more folks we have on two wheels, the bigger impression we make on the public to remind them that we’re out there and to look out for us.
We hope that you’ll come out and ride with us. More importantly, we hope that you will be great ambassadors for motorcycle safety. The month of May is a great time to make the commitment to yourself and to your loved ones that you’ll hone your skills, take a course, take measures to be seen, wear all your gear all the time, ride within your limits, and never ride impaired. Those are things we, as riders, have control over. We can’t control other drivers, but we can kindly remind them we’re out there riding again and that we want to enjoy our ride and get back home safely to ride again another day.
We can show them that we’re committed to our own safety by demonstrating responsible riding behaviors. We want them to notice us – in a good way – and want them to help us stay safe. Talk about riding, tell your friends and co-workers about how much you enjoy riding. Remind them that you and your riding friends are sharing the road and that you hope that they will, too.
May your May be filled with two-wheeled joy. Ride safely and ride lots.