Region 8 Bikers Rally During Motorcycle Awareness Month

May 20, 2004 -- Posted at 4:21 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Now that warmer weather is here outdoor activities are more common. It's the time of year when people hit the open roads for vacations and weekend getaways. Motorcycling becomes more popular but unfortunately some bikers fall victim to accidents through no fault of their own. May is motorcycle awareness month and many bikers gathered at the Milkyway Drive Inn in Jonesboro Thursday night. While every biker isn't born to be wild, most are just trying to keep an eye out for the other guy.

"It's gotten to where it's extremely dangerous for motorcyclist because people don't notice us," said rider Tom Barnes.

It's a familiar scene....motorcycle accidents. and with warm weather here, more bikers are on the roads.

Captain Mike Coy of the Arkansas State Police said, "Motorcycles have advantages and disadvantages. In some instances they're more maneuverable than a car or a truck, and sometimes they're a disadvantage because of the safety issues."

State law requires motorcyclist to have their headlight and taillights on at all times. But staying safe while riding isn't easy, many times motorist just don't see the bikers.

Rider Gene Bruner said, "There are just too many motorcyclist being killed. 75% of all motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle. Very, very little of that percentage, 2%, were the motorcyclist fault."

One of the best ways to stay safe while being on your bike is to look both ways while pulling out into traffic, just to make sure the other drivers can see you. Keeping watch for vehicles and your mind on the road can also help avoid an accident.

"It doesn't matter how much protective gear you wear, if you're not riding defensively, your going to hurt yourself and somebody else," said Barnes.

And for motorist, the same applies.

"Be mindful that they can't stop or handle those things in some conditions like an automobile and give them a little room," said Captain Coy.

The bikers will hold their next rally in 2 to 3 weeks.