Sierra Vista AZ / Richmond VA (May 19 2012) - As National Motorcycle Safety Month ends its third full week, the award-winning safety program Rider Alert continues its safety poker run further west.
PHI Air Medical, who already sponsors Rider Alert programs in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky, has now expanded its involvement into Arizona.
PHI’s Sierra Vista AZ, Base Manager, Gayla Groves RN, CFRN, CEN, is leading the motorcycle safety air assault: “Air Evac AZ is extremely excited to bring the Rider Alert program to Arizona. We want to promote rider preparedness and give the riders a practical means to get information to EMS responders. Air Evac 22 in Sierra Vista was instrumental organizing the Rider Alert program and obtaining sponsorship from additional Air Evac bases in Safford, Showlow and Miami/Globe AZ.
Rider Alert Chair and Richmond Ambulance Authority COO Rob Lawrence says, “PHI Air Medical has been a loyal supporter since its launch in April 2011, and we are delighted that they are able to spread the program across their bases throughout the nation. With the vast areas to be covered in the Arizona desert, helicopter emergency medical services see and transport many riders in times of extreme need, so to have PHI as both sponsor and partner gives the program great credibility and we are grateful for their involvement.”
“There is current discussion with our bases in New Mexico with the hope of moving Rider Alert into those areas. We have begun disseminating information to the local EMS providers and area hospitals. We have met with local groups and invited interest local agencies to become future sponsors," adds Groves.
The program continues its Arizona ride out on the range next week in Tombstone, AZ, on May 26 at the Wyatt Earp Days, where the Tombstone Fire Department will staff a safety booth promoting the program, deliver safety messages and distribute cards.
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and Rider Alert and the AAA issued the following tips for operators of all vehicles from two to eighteen wheels:
Tips for Motorists
- Share the road. A motorcycle has the same privileges as any other vehicle on the road. Be courteous and give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
- Position your mirrors to minimize blind spots. Before starting your vehicle, adjust the rearview mirror so it shows as much of the rear window as possible. While in the driver’s seat, place your head near the left window and adjust the left side-view mirror so you can just see the side of your vehicle. Then position your head near the middle of the vehicle, above the center console, and adjust the right side-view mirror so you can just see the side of your vehicle. Remember, it may take time to adjust to this view, so it’s important before driving with the new settings to practice looking at objects at the side and rear of your car.
- Look out. Look for motorcyclists on the highway, especially at intersections when a cyclist may be making a turn or changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.
- Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuvers. Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may ignore or not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Anticipate their possible evasive actions.
- Allow plenty of space. Do not follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
- Keep your cool. Even if you get agitated seeing a motorcyclist making unsafe moves, do not attempt to play games on the road.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
- Make yourself visible. Choose protective gear that provides visibility and protection. This includes wearing bright colors. If riding at night, wear clothing with reflective materials.
- Allow space. Position your bike in the lane so that you can be seen. Allow additional space for emergency braking and room to maneuver. Avoid riding in a motorist’s blind spot. Make lane changes gradually and use appropriate signaling.
- Never share a lane beside a car. A driver may be unaware of your presence. Most drivers are looking for larger vehicles, not motorcycles.
- Clearly signal your intentions. Use turn signals before changing lanes and never weave between lanes.
- Don’t speed. Obey the posted limits and adjust your speed to the changing road conditions.
- Complete a motorcycle rider education and training course. The overwhelming majority of motorcyclists have had no formal training – they were self-taught or learned from family and friends. Before operating a motorcycle in Virginia, a rider must pass the motorcycle knowledge exam, hold a motorcycle learner’s permit for 30 days and pass the motorcycle road skills test. Completing a Virginia Rider Training Course exempts the rider from taking the exams.
Protective Gear Recommendations
- Helmet – Always wear a U.S. DOT-approved helmet. It can save your life and it is the law in Virginia.
- Eye protection – Visibility is key to riding safely. Many motorcycles do not have windshields. Riders should protect their eyes with goggles that can shield the face from wind and debris, both of which can cause tearing and, blurred vision.
- Body Protection – Jackets with long sleeves and trousers protect limbs from injury.
- Gloves – Durable gloves should be a non-slip type to permit a firm grip on controls.
- Footwear – Proper over-the-ankles footwear should be worn to help prevent injuries
About Rider Alert
The Rider Alert motorcycle safety program distributes free identification data cards that help first responders to provide rapid and accurate medical assistance to motorcyclists involved in serious accidents. Launched by the Richmond Ambulance Authority, Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Motorcycle Virginia! In April 2011, Rider Alert is the first program of its kind in the United States. The Rider Alert card is placed inside a rider’s helmet and contains vital life-saving information, emergency contacts and important medical history. When first responders arrive on the scene of a motorcycle accident, a sticker on the outside of the helmet will indicate that the biker has a Rider Alert card. The sticker also warns bystanders not to remove the helmet, which could cause further injury. For more information, please visit www.rideralert.org.