Walker Revs Up Wisconsin for Motorcycle Season
Soaring gas prices drive more motorists to switch to bikes.
Gov. Scott Walker has designated May as Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Month in Wisconsin.
"Motorcyclists have the right by law to the safe enjoyment of their vehicles, including the full and equal use of the roadway without encroachment by other vehicles whether it be on city streets or rural and urban highways," Walker said in his proclomation.
Motorcycles are increasingly being used for basic transportation as well as recreation because of soaring gas prices. More than 491,000 Wisconsin residents have motorcycle licenses or permits and more than 333,000 motorcycles are registered in the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
"With the 2011 riding season now underway in Wisconsin, motorcycles are rapidly returning to our streets and highways," Greg Patzer, manager of the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program said. "To prevent crashes, motorists need to share the road and watch for motorcycles in traffic, especially at intersections and while making turns or lane changes.
“For their part, motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws and never ride while impaired," Patzer continued. "They should always wear protective gear, including a helmet. Riding a motorcycle also takes more physical skill and mental concentration than driving a car. Becoming a lifelong learner through formal training is critical to a rider’s safety.
"On average for the last five years, traffic crashes annually have killed nearly 100 motorcyclists and injured approximately 2,500. And most of these deaths and injuries could be prevented if motorists would share the road and motorcyclists were well trained and always rode within their limitations," Patzer concluded.
To save lives and reduce injuries from crashes, the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program has provided rider training through the state technical colleges for 29 years and has graduated more than 140,000 riders in that time.
This year, the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program has expanded its courses and will offer comprehensive training for riders at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced. For information about rider training courses and locations, visit the WisDOT website.
In addition, the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program will use its new mobile training facility this year, called Transportable High-End Rider Education Facility (THE REF), to reach out to motorcycle riders around the state and encourage formal rider training.
“THE REF will go to where the riders are,” Patzer said. “Designed to be nonintrusive, while still offering the most critical of survival tips, THE REF encourages both riders and non-riders to learn more about sharing the road, crash avoidance, and awareness of road and traffic hazards.”
For information about THE REF, visit ZeroInWisconsin.gov.