The first weekend of February was a deadly one for motorcyclists in Baton Rouge. During a single 24-hour period three people, including a Baton Rouge Police Officer, lost their lives when motorists turned in front of them. In all three deadly crashes the motorist violated the motorcyclist’s right of way. In one case the driver of the vehicle causing the crash left the scene.

As an avid motorcyclist and one who earns a living riding one, I am greatly alarmed. As President of the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign I am determined that we must find a way to end this highway carnage.

Motorcyclists, bicycle riders and pedestrians share one thing in common. We are all vulnerable road users and we are being killed, injured and maimed in increasing numbers by careless, distracted and sometimes aggressive motorists.

One of the most common statements made by motorists involved in a crash with a motorcycle is, “I didn’t see them.”

That statement is no excuse and of little consolation when someone is killed or severely injured.

In order for us to be seen, motorists need to “actively” look for us before pulling out, turning or changing lanes.

We often only see what we are looking for. As one of the videos on this website clearly shows the brain can play tricks on you. (see “Do You Sometimes Feel Invisible? Well you are.)

Some riders are calling for greater punishment for those who do cause death and injury. It is a valid point. MAC is currently working with bicyclists and pedestrian organizations on Vulnerable Road User legislation. Previous attempts to pass such reforms have failed. We must keep working.

But until motorists put down their phones, stop texting while driving and begin actively looking for us the carnage on our highways will continue.

Now, more than ever before we need your help. To continue the work of MAC we need your dollars and your ongoing support.

There is just so much we can do with “free” media. To reach the motoring public we need to purchase television and radio time, as well as social media and web advertising.

We have already produced several TV and Radio spots which we would like to air all over the state. More are in the works, as well as a full-blown media campaign. But such things are expensive. Yet every penny we raise goes right back into programs to educate the motoring public about the importance of actively watching for motorcycles.

One way you can help is to simply join MAC. Your $35-dollar annual membership contribution will help fund these efforts.

We are often told that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Is it? Motorcycling is no more inherently dangerous than driving an automobile. A properly trained, sober and responsible rider is really in no more danger than any other vehicle on the roadway.

The real danger comes from careless, distracted and sometimes aggressive motorists who violate our right of way, tailgate us, and abruptly switch into our lanes. As long as this kind of behavior continues, we will continue to die.

Please Join us. If you can not afford $35 please consider giving a smaller amount. There is a place on our website to make donations. Every penny helps and every penny will be used to make it a safer place out there for motorcycles.

Bob Courtney