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MOTORIST AWARENESS ARTICLE

Written by: James McGinnis
FL1-H Rider Educator/Motorist Awareness Coordinator
Florida Department of Transportation Motorcycle Safety Coalition Board member
MSF/FRTP/GWRRA Rider Coach

SO NOW YOU ARE A MOTORIST AWARENESS COORDINATOR, WHAT DO YOU DO?

I have been asked by several Members what does a Motorist Awareness Coordinator do? The position is one of the lesser known positions within the Rider Education Program with G.W.R.R.A. As Motorist Awareness we work with the public sector to assist in making riding a motorcycle in our community as safe as it can be.

How do I get started? One idea is to contact your city, county or state, street and road engineer department. Here you can see if they have a CTST (Community Traffic Safety Team) and how you may volunteer to sit in on this team. Here is where they cover all aspects of safety in regards to the local area, from conditions of the roads, to traffic enforcement to signage and much, much more. By being a part of this team you can learn where the hot spots are causing motorcycle crashes and causes for those crashes.

As a motorcyclist, you can offer insight as to how the motorcycles operate and what may be dangerous to a motorcyclist that may be no hazard for vehicles. One example would be when the contractors are resurfacing streets and they cut those grooves when they remove the top layers. To a vehicle that is an inconvenience, to a motorcycle it could be disastrous. There are other areas locally that may be doing this same type of improvements to the roads, so look around and get involved. Another way you can assist in the high crash areas would be to possibly place some of the yard signs Rider Education has available to help bring awareness to drivers that motorcycles are present.

Other ways to help safe riding is to approach the local businesses that have the lighted scrolling billboards. You know the ones that change the message from "scratch and dent sale" "Now on sale for only $$$$" "Eat at Joe's Diner," etc... As those signs scroll through the messages ask the business to insert a PSA for motorcycle safety. Try having them use the message that Motorist Awareness uses "Watch out for Motorcycles" or "Look Twice Save a Life" there are many safety messages that can be used. Then, as these signs rotate through the safety message it will be seen 24/7 by the passing vehicles. Choose the locations that have the potential for maximizing exposure to the driving public.

Using PSA's is one of the greatest ways to get the message out. In Florida there are Chapters in the Tampa area that has been having Safety PSA's played on the local radio stations. If you contact the Florida Rider Educator he can assist in acquiring those ads that were used. PSA's are Public Service Announcements. All form of media regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) according to the license contract they must provide a certain amount of air time or print space for free PSA's. This in no way guarantees that YOUR message will be the one the station or paper uses. You need to be persistent in your efforts to receive the payoff of getting your message played or printed.

As a Motorist Awareness Coordinator you can contact your local associations and ask if you would be able to do a 15 or 20 minute presentation at one of their monthly meetings. Who can you ask? Here are a few suggestions, the Moose, Elks, Eagles, VFW, American Legion, AARP Driving School, Blue Knights, Red Knights, Masonic Lodge, Shrine groups, School PTA's etc. The list can go on and on. Where do I get the presentations? Go to the National GWRRA Rider Education section and find the Motorist Awareness area. Click on that link and you will find different presentations and power points that you can use. Here you can also acquire hand outs and information to use. You can contact your area coordinator, state or region coordinator for assistance also.

I hope this gives some insight as to how important your position is to all motorcycle riders in your area. You are the ambassador for GWRRA to the local community as you go out and promote safety. Through your efforts as Motorist Awareness Coordinators we have begun to make changes and are lowering the number of motorcycle involved crashes. While the number of registered motorcycles is increasing, crash data supports a decrease in incidents. You can take the satisfaction of knowing that your actions have played a part in these numbers decreasing. So now you have a better idea of what you can do as a Motorist Awareness Coordinator.

 

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