Drivers urged to share the road, riders urged to get licensed
For the City Times
More than a half million Wisconsin residents have a motorcycle license or permit, and many of them have already started this year’s riding season. As motorcycles continue to grow in popularity among men and women of all ages, safety is a constant concern. Last year, 73 motorcycle riders and passengers died in Wisconsin traffic crashes.
Greg Patzer, manager of the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program called it “an opportunity to remind drivers to share the road and watch for motorcycles, especially at intersections and while making turns and lane changes.”
Patzer said drivers can easily misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle because of its smaller dimensions. To prevent crashes, drivers should check the position of a motorcycle at least two or three times before they proceed through an intersection or make a turn, he said.
To protect themselves and others on the road, motorcyclists are legally required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver license. Nearly 42 percent of motorcyclists’ fatalities in 2013 involved riders who had not completed the safety training or skills test required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their license.
Motorcyclists can obtain their motorcycle endorsement in two ways:
- Pass a written test and a road test at a DMV service center.
- Successfully complete an eligible rider education course that waives the requirement for the DMV road test. More information about rider education courses—from beginner to advanced—is available online at www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/vehicle/motorcycle.
To help promote rider education, the WMSP is teaming up with ABATE of Wisconsin, a motorcycle riders’ advocacy group, to distribute hang-tags that dealers can display on their motorcycles in showrooms urging riders to get endorsed.
In addition, the WMSP will use radio and TV public service announcements, billboards and social media to remind motorcycle riders and drivers to share the road.
Electronic message signs on major highways this riding season will urge motorists to look twice for motorcycles.