LANCASTER – Fatal collisions involving motorcyclists have been increasing in California over the past few years. In an effort to change this disturbing trend, the California Highway Patrol and Office of Traffic Safety are embarking on a month-long motorcycle safety and awareness campaign during May.
Locally, motorcycle enthusiasts are “payin’ it forward to the next biker in need” with a motorcycle awareness blood drive.
The fourth annual “Motorcycle Awareness Blood Drive AV: Payin’ it forward” will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Antelope Valley Hospital Blood Donor Center, located at 44105 15th Street West in Lancaster.
Blood donations will be accepted in Suite 305, and there will be a party in parking lot.
Festivities will include live music from the local band, Rukus, a bake sale, motorcycle relays and lots of great raffle prizes donated by local businesses, according to organizers.
Motorcycle Awareness Blood Drive AV has inspired 221 members of the community to help save lives by signing up to be blood donors in 2012, 2013, and 2014, according to officials at the AVH Blood Donor Center.
The blood drive was started by the family and friends of Zac Lutz, a motorcyclist who was critically injured just months before his wedding in 2012 when a pickup truck u-turned in front of him in Lancaster.
“When our son was in the hospital, so many people asked what they could do. We responded by asking for blood [and] the outcome was amazing,” stated Zac’s mother, Robbin Merrick. “After Zac recovered, we saw the need and every year it gets a little bigger. Soon we hope to be known as the biggest blood drive in the valley.”
The AVH Blood Donor Center will be accepting donations on behalf of the motorcycle awareness blood drive throughout the month of May. Call 661-949-5622 to schedule an appointment.
Tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists
The California Highway Patrol, Department of Motor Vehicles and Office of Traffic Safety offer the following tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
- Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle. The person under that helmet could be a mother, brother, doctor or friend.
- Perform a regular visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, at intersections, and pulling out of driveways and parking lots. Always look twice before pulling out.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle –motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
- Allow more following distance -three or four seconds -when behind a motorcycle to give the motorcyclist time to maneuver around obstacles in the roadway or stop in an emergency.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
- Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet.
- Never riding while impaired.
- Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
- Signaling intentions by combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves.
- Assuming drivers can’t see them.
- Wearing brightly-colored protective gear and using reflective tape and stickers to make sure they are seen.
- Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
- Not accelerating too quickly, since drivers turning ahead might not notice until too late.
For more information on motorcycle awareness and safety, contact the local California Highway Patrol Office at 661-948-8541.