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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Motorcycle Safety Foundation Calls on all Motorists to Improve Their Driving and Riding and Increase Safety

IRVINE, Calif., May 4, 2011 – May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is again calling on all motorists to improve their driving, improve their riding, make better decisions and increase safety for everyone on the road. The national organization dedicated to motorcyclist safety is leading a number of efforts to raise awareness, reduce injuries and save lives.

“Through our ongoing awareness campaign, through our training and education programs, we strive to make better, smarter drivers and riders, who make wiser decisions, share the roads, and really improve their character out on the highway,” said Tim Buche, MSF president and chief executive officer. “Driving’s a privilege, so is riding, and it’s also fun. But it’s serious fun. Across the country, motorcycle related fatalities have declined over the past two years, according to a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association. However, one fatality is one too many and we must all do much, much better.”

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a reminder to everyone behind the wheel or behind the handlebars to be aware of their surroundings and take a few very important precautions. Because the human element is the most important aspect of traffic safety, the MSF presents five key rules of the road for drivers and five for motorcyclists.

For Drivers:

1: Focus on Driving – Don’t be distracted. Never text or surf the Web while driving. Put down the cell phone or mobile device. Food, pets and even passengers can be bad distractions.

2: Look for Motorcyclists – Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and are often harder to see. But motorcyclists are out there and you should expect to see them and make every effort to see them in the mix of traffic.

3: Give Motorcyclists Enough Room Keep a safe distance when following a motorcyclist. Don’t change lanes too close in front of a rider. Motorcyclists generally don’t just have fender-benders in collisions with cars.

4: Use Your Turn Signals – Always signal your intentions. It’s for everyone’s safety and it’s also the law.

5: Keep it in the Car – Trash, including cigarette butts, should stay in the car, not thrown out where it could hit a motorcyclist. Road debris can kill a rider. Heavier items, especially, should be kept inside the car or truck or should be very well secured.

For Motorcyclists:

1: Get properly trained and licensed – Half of all riders today have never taken a proper safety class such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourseSM. Along with training, get your motorcycle license from the DMV.

2: Wear all the right gear, all the time – Always wear a real motorcycle helmet manufactured to the standards of the Department of Transportation. Visit www.helmetcheck.org to ensure you have a proper helmet. But that’s not enough. Also wear sturdy gloves, a jacket or riding suit, protective pants and boots, all made for motorcycling. Ideally, no one riding a motorcycle should have any visible skin, other than a small amount between the bottom of their helmet and the collar of their jacket.

3: Don’t drink and ride – Never, ever ride while impaired by alcohol or any kind of drug. Bikes, beer and booze don’t mix. Nearly half of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking.

4: Ride within your skill limits and obey traffic laws – Don’t ride faster or farther than your abilities can handle.

5: Be a lifelong learner – Take refresher RiderCourses. No matter how often you ride or how long you’ve been riding, take advanced courses to brush up on the basics and keep working on improving your skills. The MSF has an extensive curriculum with courses for all riders from beginner to experienced.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation® promotes safety through rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF® have been recognized worldwide since 1973.

The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.msf-usa.org or call (800) 446-9227.