April proclaimed Dekalb’s Motorcycle Awareness Month


Man maneuvers motorcycle through cones on Sunday afternoon in the Anderson Parking Lot for a motorcycle training class.

By Ali Combs

With warmer weather and motorcycles out and about, the mayor wants attention drawn to all those who take to the road.

April is now Motorcycle Awareness Month for the City of Dekalb, by proclamation of Mayor Kris Povlsen.

The city will work with the State and A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (A.B.A.T.E.) to raise awareness and to prevent increases in motorcycle accident deaths.

A.B.A.T.E. is an organization that works with municipalities throughout Illinois to declare Motorcycle Awareness Month and raise awareness about motorcycles and educate about motorcycle safety. It has worked with Gov. Pat Quinn, who declared May to be Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois.

“I think it’s very important for people to be aware that motorcycles are out there,” said Mary Jo Havens, A.B.A.T.E. public relations coordinator. “Motorcycles are small, and we move faster than people think in proportion to other traffic. We may be in blind areas much easier than cars. We’re out there, and people need to be aware of that.”

Povlsen said traffic and motorcycle safety are parts of overall public safety.

“Motorcycles seem to be more and more prevalent on the streets,” Povlsen said. “It seems easy to look back and forth and miss a motorcycle. We need to heighten our awareness that there is other transportation than big cars and trucks, from a public safety standpoint.”

Julie Coplea, head of the motorcycle unit for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety, is involved with the Start Seeing Motorcycles campaign, a motorcycle safety awareness group run by IDOT.

“[We’re aiming to] make the average person aware that they are sharing the road with us, especially with the warmer weather in the coming months,” Coplea said.

Coplea said there are often safety concerns with riders not being properly licensed and educated about safe riding.

Gear Up is a program run by Coplea’s division. It works to ensure motorcyclists are well equipped to ride.

Povlsen said motorcycle awareness is important in keeping the community safe.

“I think traffic safety and public safety awareness is important in all aspects…,” Povlsen said. “Creating a greater heightened awareness on public safety issues is always good to do when the opportunity comes up.”

Havens said A.B.A.T.E. appreciates all that communities throughout the state have done to help raise awareness of motorcyclists on the road.

“It helps bring awareness of motorcycles into focus, and we really appreciate it,” Havens said. “We are out there. Look twice; save a life.”