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Motorcycle group emphasizes safety as bikes hit the road

Submitted Photo Gold Wing Road Riders are pictured at the Randolph Fish Hatchery.

Few things match the thrill and alluring sense of freedom that come from motorcycles. However, such freedom comes with responsibility, for both riders and the motorists around them.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, several thousand people die each year nationwide in motorcycle crashes.

That being said, the delicate balance between freedom and responsibility is clear and the local chapter of Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA – NY Chapter U) is doing its part in keeping motorcyclists safe on the roads. Chapter U is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to riders and owners of any make of motorcycles even though its title would suggest it is for Gold Wing Motorcycle owners. The chapter operates under its core values of: excellence, character, focus, attitude, fairness, communication, teamwork, training, quality, and safety. Its membership promotes safety through educational courses provided by the Chapter’s Rider Educator and believe in “All the Gear, all the Time.” Protective gear is a must.

Sally Jaquith is with the Chautauqua County chapter, based in Falconer. She notes their members put a strong emphasis on being safe while on the roads. “We’re a not-for-profit organization and we just want to make sure people are understanding the core values of riding,” she said.

They do a lot of emphasis on helping motorcyclists, by putting on educational events.

Submitted Photo May is Motorcycle Safety Month.

Rider education seminars include such things as: motorcycle safety/awareness, defensive riding techniques, co-rider education, first-aid and CPR courses to name a few. GWRRA’s motto is “friends for fun, safety, and knowledge” and Chapter U’s mission statement is Going Where Roads Reveal Adventure. Membership includes 26 active members ranging in ages 30 to 70 from Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Chapter U offers weekly dinner and weekend rides.

With May being Motorcycle safety Awareness Month Chapter U also felt compelled to share its top safety tips for riders getting ready to head out:

* Take a motorcycle awareness course

* Get the right gear

* Ride within your skills

Submitted Photo Gold Wing Road Riders hold Recruitment Day at Hector’s Honda every year in June.

* Avoid distractions

* Leave enough space between you and other vehicles

* Watch the weather

* Educate your passenger

* Look both ways – and twice – at intersections

* Wear a helmet – it’s the state law

Jacquith said defensive driving is more important now than ever because too many vehicles have distracted drivers. “It seems like motorists in general do not see motorcycles unless maybe they’re Harleys and making a lot of noise,” she said.

Motorists can get impatient with motorcyclists as well. “People pull out in front of them, get in a hurry to pass and go around. … It makes it dangerous for everybody,” she said.

The GWRRA was founded in 1977 and has grown to more than 70,000 U.S., Canadian, and international members. There are approximately 800 active chapters in the U.S. with 10 in New York State. Members work to foster safe, enjoyable riding, while working to enhance the public image of motorcycling.

The local GWRRA chapter meets the second Sunday of every month at the Belle-View East, located at 7 E. Main Street in Falconer, at 2 p.m. for lunch and 3 p.m. for a meeting. Non-members are welcome.

Jacquith said they usually go on dinner rides twice a month on Wednesdays and also go for all-day rides twice a month on Saturdays. Members are not required to attend the rides but are invited.

GWRRA is offering a free four-month trial membership. For more information on GWRRA Chapter NY-U, contact Sally or Gene Jaquith at 716-499-8369 or chandle–64@yahoo.com.

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