There are various motorcycle safety and awareness efforts underway in Alabama, and I’d like to make readers aware of them all so that you can evaluate each one and perhaps choose one to contribute a few bucks or volunteer hours to. If you know of other groups, I’ll be happy to add them to the list.
MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS CAMPAIGN (MAC) was started in Louisiana, but chapters have formed in Alabama and Mississippi. There are nine chapters in Louisiana, two in Alabama, and two in Mississippi. 100% of membership dues and donations go toward promoting motorcycle awareness. Their mission statement reads, “To promote awareness and safety of motorcyclists on roadways.” Motorists in Louisiana can purchase MAC motorcycle awareness license plates and when placed on automobiles they spread the message of safety for motorcycles every time the vehicle travels the highway. The funds generated from sales of the license plates are used by MAC to increase awareness and promote/support training and education efforts for motorcyclists. In South Central Alabama, you have probably seen their yellow and black yard signs and bumper stickers that say, “Watch for Motorcycles”. I haven’t met the Director for the Wiregrass chapter, however, Vance Harrelson, Director for the Birmingham, AL chapter, is friendly, helpful, and informed.
Motorcycle Awareness Campaign P.O. Box 4762 Baton Rouge, La 70821. Birmingham contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , Vance Harrelson, Director, MAC Alabama Birmingham Chapter, 1803 Kentucky Circle, Helena, AL 35080. The other Alabama chapter is the Wiregrass chapter. Director Russ Kruse firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOLD WING ROAD RIDERS ASSOCIATION (GWRRA) has chapters located throughout Alabama and nationally. Safety is an important part of their monthly meetings and they hold various events in May for Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. They are currently the only group with permission to set up at the Alabama Welcome Centers to pass out bottled water and information on Motorcycle Safety and Awareness. Another activity is displaying their motorcycles in the University Mall in Tuscaloosa which also affords them an excellent opportunity to meet and greet the public and to spread the message of sharing the road with motorcycles.
Their motto is: “Share the Road!”. Their mission statement is: “To Facilitate a Reduction in Motorcycle Crashes with Other Motor Vehicles”. I’ve met with two of the chapters and found them to be very well organized as well as friendly and informative. Rider Education and Motorist Awareness are two separate campaigns, the latter focuses on educating motorists while the first focuses on rider training. Treating the two issues as separate divisions was a brilliant decision. Both are important enough to deserve individualized attention, and I applaud GWRRA for recognizing that and setting it up so that both receive the attention they justly deserve.
GWRRA conducts rider training courses throughout the U.S. and is currently the only group in Alabama that offers rider training for trikes. They also offer training for side cars and trailers. The Rider Training Division and Motorist Awareness Division (MAD) work with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the MSF curriculum.
Membership in GWRRA qualifies a bike owner for a discount with Allstate Insurance. If you join GWRRA, rider training courses are then free.
DIXIE ABATE: www.DixieABATE.org. I’m no longer affiliated with ABATE so I’m not up to date with their goals for the coming year and don’t feel qualified to describe them. Anything you want to know about this group and their activities along with contact information can be found on their website. I made arrangements in 2012 for Allstate Insurance to add Dixie ABATE to the list of organizations which membership qualifies riders for bike insurance discounts. This should go into effect in 2013. If interested, watch the Allstate Insurance Co. website to see when they’re added to that list. ABATE is active in many states, each operates independently, has a somewhat different course of action, and the name varies slightly from state to state.