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Foundation Aims at Reducing Rider Deaths During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Through New Wide-Ranging Media Efforts

IRVINE, Calif.--Spring marks the traditional start of the riding season and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is continuing and expanding its efforts to reduce crashes through the annual Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May. Motorcycle sales have steadily increased for the past 14 years and, needlessly, so have the fatalities in recent years.

This spring and summer, beyond the traditional methods for spreading consumer information, the MSF will use new technologies to reach a wider and younger audience through YouTube and, with several safety video placements. And the MSF will distribute a freshly cut video news release nationwide to local TV stations. It also will release Intersection, a dramatic new short film, targeting driver ed programs, that examines a car/bike crash from the perspective of every one of the motorists involved.

As it has done before, the foundation will: make expert safety spokespeople available for interviews; post newswire releases; seed and facilitate coverage with print, broadcast and online media; host rider training demos for media; and post information on its Web site and that of Discover Todays Motorcycling.

The MSF staff is asking news media across America to view cycle safety as an important story and help spread important messages to all kinds of motorists.

The overwhelming number of motorcyclists who wind up in solo crash statistics are there because they arent following basic but important rules about riding, said Tim Buche, president of the MSF. The level of risk involved is different for each rider, depending on the decisions he or she makes. And we also know that car drivers and other motorists are at fault most of the time in multiple-vehicle crashes that involve a motorcyclist. We have life-saving messages for everyone, whether they are behind a handlebar or behind a steering wheel.

For motorcyclists, the MSF has five critical messages:

  • Get Trained and Licensed - Take an MSF RiderCourseSM and get licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. See Call (800) 446-9227.
  • Wear Protective Gear - Wear proper protective riding gear, most importantly a helmet made to Department of Transportation standards.
  • Ride Unimpaired - Ride unimpaired, never drinking or using other drugs before getting on a motorcycle.
  • Ride Within Your Limits - Stay within your personal limits, never riding faster or farther than your abilities can handle.
  • Be a Lifelong Learner - Be lifelong learners, regularly returning for refresher riding courses.

For car drivers and other motorists, the MSF says:

  • Look Out for Motorcyclists - Use your eyes and mirrors to see whats around.
  • Don't Be Distracted - Hang up and drive, put down the food, the pet, the personal grooming gear, the CD, and the reading material and save it for later.
  • Give Two-Wheelers Some Room - Don't tailgate or get too close side-by-side.
  • Use Your Turn Signals Signal your intentions. It's also the law.
  • Keep it in the Car Dont throw trash and cigarettes out the window, and securely latch down cargo that can fall out on the road and be a deadly hazard.

All of these are all doable, real-world actions that will cut down crashes and fatalities right now, Buche said. Above everything else, its about the human element, the attitude, the mind-set that motorcyclists and motorists have, and the choices they make out there on the road.

All of the crash studies weve seen and all of the experience we have, going back to 1973 when the MSF was founded, tell us that these actions save lives, he said. Theres a tendency to seek a magic pill, a silver bullet or some new technology to solve problems. New research should continue, but past research tells us that focusing on the fundamentals of riding and driving is the best solution and it can be done now.

Were grateful to editors and broadcasters who have truly done a community service by informing their audience about the important rules for riding and for sharing the road with motorcyclists, said Ty van Hooydonk with Discover Todays Motorcycling, a media outreach program for the motorcycle industry. Do it right and chances are the only thing youll get out of motorcycling is a great time. We think the phrase serious fun best describes motorcycling.

Since 1973, the MSF has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, 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 may enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. 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 RiderCourseSM locations, call (800) 446-9227 or visit