Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — Earlier this month, the new Motorcycle Advisory Council held its first meeting.  The “MAC” was created to support and advise the Federal Highway Administration on reducing motorcycle fatalities and improving infrastructure across the country.

The ten member committee held its meeting in Arlington, Va, and is comprised of experts in a variety of motorcycle and infrastructure topics.  The day long meeting was to discuss work zone improvements, roundabouts, roadside hardware, crash testing and other topics.

While it’s not expected to have an immediate impact on motorcycle safety, the committee will meet again in early 2018 to advise the Federal Government on issues related to improving safety on the nation’s highways.

During the course of the meeting, data was presented on motorcycle fatalities, which are showing an alarming rise in numbers.  The numbers, reportedly, are skewed due to the fact that most vehicles are getting safer.

Airbags, self-tensioning seat belts and advanced driver assistance systems are credited with saving more lives in motor vehicle accidents, while the dangers of riding a motorcycle remain the same.

I had not heard of such an initiative put forth by the Federal Government, but was encouraged that at least we were on their “radar.”

Clearly, vehicle safety has improved tremendously, and that’s a good thing.  Obviously we all own and operate vehicles and safety is important.  What bothers me is that during their inaugural meeting, their agenda didn’t address the major concern of bikers and that’s the cell phone, and distractions that lead to serious, if not fatal, accidents involving motorcycles.

I’m encouraged by this committee and yet don’t expect anything major from them anytime soon.  Until the “Feds” address the cell phone “nightmare” that affects us all, not just bikers, then we’re just spinning our wheels.  We all know that the technology exists to “disarm” the cell phone when the vehicle is in use, and on the surface it appears to be an easy fix.  

I guess we’ll take what we can get as far as the Government addressing the issue, and if the motorcycle community wasn’t so “divided” about lane sharing and other ideas to improve safety and visibility, we might have a bigger voice.  We also don’t have as big of a lobby as others, like bicyclists, who catch the ear of legislators on a state and national level.

The bottom line my brothers and sisters is, be diligent, be careful and keep your wits about you when you’re riding. 

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