Police, bikers encourage sharing the road during Motorcycle Awar - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Police, bikers encourage sharing the road during Motorcycle Awareness Month

Posted: Updated: May 11, 2014 10:27 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.

The campaign to promote the safe sharing of roads by both vehicles and motorcyclists has taken on added meaning in our area after two motorcyclists were killed in a car crash in Rock County on Easter Sunday.

Police believe Sambath Pal, 24, crossed the center line on Highway 14 in the Town of Harmony and hit bikers Mitchell Vance, 24, and Devin Julius, 18,.

The criminal complaint against Pal alleges he drove off following the accident.

Both Vance and Julius died as a result of the crash. Pal is facing felony, hit and run resulting in death charges.

Middleton Police Sgt. Don Mueller said the most common accidents involving vehicles and motorcyclists occur when the driver of the vehicle turns left in front of the biker.

As part of Motorcycle Awareness Month, motorcycle advocacy group ABATE of Wisconsin is promoting the phrase "look twice, save a life."

Drivers are advised to "look left, then right, and then look left again," said ABATE's Tim Tomann.

Tomann said the extra check is meant to spot a motorcyclist who might have been riding in a vehicle's blind spot during the first glance.

"It's not acceptable to say you didn't see that bicycle," Tomann said. "It just takes a couple of extra seconds to take that additional look."

Mueller said drivers of cars, trucks and SUV's should also be careful about driving too close to motorcyclists. He said bikers often have to slow down for obstacles in the road that don't affect vehicles.

"If there's sand or gravel on the road, or a pothole, a motorcycle will have to slow down for that," Mueller said. "So give them so extra room so you don't rear end them."

As for bikers, Mueller said all motorcyclists should obtain a valid motorcycle license. He also said all motorcyclists should take at least some type of motorcycle training class. Mueller said such classes can teach basics like balancing a bike and navigating through both high and low-speed turns.

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