Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: things to remember now & throughout the season

“Treat a motorcycle like it’s another vehicle,” ABATE North Dakota’s executive director, Lonnie Bertsch, said that’s the biggest thing.

“Back off, give them space, don’t invade their space either,” Bertsch added, “and don’t slam on your brakes quickly to try to scare somebody or things like that.”

Would you want a driver to switch lanes before they checked their surroundings? Probably not.

“We need to watch out for cars not looking for us. This time of year, the cars aren’t used to seeing us,” said Bertsch said.

Deputy Amy Whitehead with the Ward County Sheriff’s Department said, “Look both ways when entering an intersection or crossing the road, but also look again. So look both ways and look again to ensure you’ve seen all motorists.”

It’s as simple as that.

For those behind the handle bars, spatial awareness is huge when it comes to safety, but the most important things to remember are the same for everyone, no matter how many wheels you ride on.

Bertsch said, “People need to keep in mind, obey the traffic law.  Basically, the biggest issues for both the car drivers and the motorcycle riders – obey the speed limits, respect everybody’s space and everybody’s rights.”

The saying goes, ‘rather be safe than sorry,’ and that’s why ABATE – American Bikers Aiming Towards Education – offers safety courses all summer long.

“The ABATE safety course isn’t mandatory, but it is beneficial. Bertsch said he’s had riders take the course up to three times before they feel comfortable enough to get out on the road.”

Bertsch explained, “We give them quick stops, how to stop quickly, how to swerve around objects in the road. How to go around a corner properly, things like that, the important items.”

ABATE offers 200 classes every summer in Bismarck, Dickinson, Williston and in Minot.


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