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Motorcyclists Make Big Showing Saturday in Salem (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
They remind drivers that the time of year has arrived when increasing numbers of motorcycles will take the state's streets and highways.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Hundreds of gleaming motorcycles lined the street in front of the Oregon State Capitol Saturday to celebrate of the kickoff of the riding season.
They say the purpose was to share camaraderie, educate the public, and get the word out about a number of important messages that potentially affect both drivers and cyclists.
Live music from the capitol steps set the stage for a fun event that was attended by people of all ages.
An informational display provided brochures and other educational materials, and Adam's Rib Smokehouse, which will be featured Wednesday May 6th on Channel 12, made sure everyone was well-fed, and
Nic Oliver is the Executive Director of the group Oregon Bike PAC which lobbies the legislature on behalf of those who spend more time on two wheels, than four.
He said, "It's important to be aware of the hazards out on the road as well as the safety issues, so that everybody can have a good time while they're enjoying the road here in Oregon. My job as Executive Director is to watchdog the Legislators to make sure they aren't passing unfair legislation that singles out motorcyclists out for whatever it might be."
Monica, Betty and Carolyn, are with the HUB City A.B.A.T.E. Chapter out of Albany, Oregon. They are preparing for their first poker run of the season, it happens the first week in June.
Monica said, "It's the best one in the Valley. Love to see you come out, all bikes are welcome."
She explained what a poker run is for those who aren't familiar, "You've got several stops, ours are in the valley area, at each stop you draw a card from a deck of cards and at the end of the run the person with the best hand wins the prize."
Bike riders at the event have a message for the public; that is that they shouldn't be intimidated by the leather and heavy metal.
Motorcycle riders they say, are among the nicest people you might ever meet.
One unexpected part of the event were dozens of gnome hats that looked like they came right out of a Dr. Sues book.
Monica explained the reason behind the unusual headgear.
"It's so that we're not as intimidating and more approachable to the general public, to share our motorcycle awareness and education."
The tight economy and gas prices will probably lead to more bikes than ever for drivers to share the road with.
Motorcycles have no bodies or bumpers and riders are often killed or severely injured in crashes with cars.
Nic Oliver says they aren't asking for much, they simply want drivers to pay more attention.
"We just want to raise awareness so everybody knows we're out there and share the road with us, we're not asking for anything special."
This summer keep your eyes open for bikes and remember that just driving reasonably, using your turn signals and not tailgating, can go a long way toward keeping crashes and overall tensions lower.
Plus, it is a simple fact that bikes are hard to see.
There is legislation regarding motorcycles under consideration at this time. One bill would increase penalties toward drivers who injure motorcyclists under certain circumstances.
Here is the video report on Saturday's event at the state capitol:
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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