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Comprehensive motorcycle safety for the future

July 7, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Last week I posted a guest blog by Dan Petterson, a motorcycle accident safety advocate and president of the Michigan-based biker safety group SMARTER (Skilled Motorcyclist Association — Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc.). Dan discussed the challenge of motorcycle safety in an environment where at the same time, some organizations are pushing for measures that threaten safety, such as the recent successful repeal of Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law.

Dan had several ideas for what’s needed to reduce motorcycle accidents in the future. Here is Dan’s conclusion and ideas for the future:

In the U.S., we are a long way from creating universal solutions for motorcyclist safety.

The National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety is an excellent vision for what a comprehensive motorcyclist-safety effort should look like; however, in the eight years since the publication of the “National Agenda,” little has changed. While a vision was outlined, the call for action has been largely ignored and the main players continue to fight.

In order to move forward, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and the various state motorcycle rights organizations need to separate their freedom-of-choice agenda from their advocacy for rider training and motorist awareness.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) must stop being the right arm of MRF regarding the helmet/helmet law issue. Voluntarily changing is the right thing to do. Without voluntary action on the part of MRF, AMA and the various state motorcyclists’ rights organizations, every other entity identified needs to take action to push this outdated vocal minority and the image of motorcycling they cultivate from center stage.

The AMA should take this lead by separating itself from the MRF. Until that happens, we are just spinning our wheels and motorcyclists are continuing to die.

Related information:

Help after a Michigan motorcycle accident

– Dr. Dan Petterson has been a motorcyclist for over 40 years. He rides street, off-road, racetrack, and dual sport. He currently owns 10 motorcycles, four of which are licensed and insured for street use. He has been involved in motorcycle safety since 1985 as a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor/RiderCoach and since 1990 as a RiderCoach Trainer. He is a graduate of several track schools, including all four levels of the California Superbike School. He holds a doctorate in education from Western Michigan University. Dan is a charter lifetime member of the AMA having earned his charter lifetime membership many years ago by being a continuous dues-paying annual member for 25 years. He is the founder and current president of the Skilled Motorcyclist Association-Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc.

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