New AMA Initiative Against Cars

OK riders, here's another chance for you to become politically involved and protect your rights as a motorcyclist. If you've ever had a car suddenly turn left in front of you or pull into your lane or path of travel, then you need to keep reading.

Word has it that the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has launched a new initiative to battle a major cause of motorcycle crashes: other vehicles violating the right-of-way of motorcyclists...



"Research shows that more than half of all motorcycle crashes are caused by other vehicles violating the right-of-way of a motorcyclist," said Sean Maher, AMA director of state affairs."By increasing penalties and aggressively promoting motorcycle awareness, we hope to cut the number of crashes dramatically."

Motorcyclists Matter is a multi-pronged effort aimed directly at some of the most common accident scenarios involving motorcycles and cars--cases in which drivers turn left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist, pull into the path of a motorcycle from a side street or cut into a lane occupied by a motorcycle.

The Motorcyclists Matter campaign seeks to increase penalties for cardrivers who injure or kill motorcyclists, and to raise public awareness of motorcyclists on the road.

"Over the years," Maher said, "we've seen countless accidents caused by car drivers putting their vehicles right in the path of moving motorcycles, leaving the riders no escape route. In those cases, the motorcyclist invariably loses. We've tried public information campaigns to try to get car drivers to pay more attention to motorcyclists, now we need to put more bite into our efforts."

Under the new initiative, for those drivers who ignore the rules of the road and inflict injuries on motorcyclists as a consequence, the AMA will pursue a get-tough policy with state legislators.

"Often, a driver convicted of violating the right-of-way of a motorcyclist gets off with a fine of $100 or less, even if his actions result in serious injury or death," noted Maher. "The AMA is seeking increased penalties in those cases--$200 to $1,000 in fines and a mandatory driver's license suspension of 30 days to six months."

In addition, the AMA is asking states to develop a course for offenders, focusing on the vulnerabilities of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.This class could be mandatory for right-of-way violators, or could be offered as an alternative to stiffer penalties.

Another component of the project is to encourage the creation of public information campaigns reminding drivers to watch for motorcyclists. These campaigns will include billboards, posters, radio spots, government proclamations and letters to newspapers.

The AMA will be working with state and local organizations across the country in an effort to kick off the Motorcyclists Matter program this spring.

"May marks the traditional beginning of the riding season and is an ideal time to launch this campaign," Maher said.

Clubs or individuals who would like to get involved in this project can get information by going to www.AMADirectlink.com and clicking on the "Protecting Your Right to Ride" button on the left side of the screen.

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Danielle Grossman
Danielle Grossman

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