Keeping an Eye on Motorcycle Safety


CULLMAN – Motorcycles have come a long way since their invention. Now, riders have less to worry about  when they cruise down the street due to anti-locking brakes and many other safety advancements. These advancements have greatly reduced the risks of motorcycle accidents, but other dangers remain. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month and serves as a reminder for drivers to be cautious both in the car and on the motorcycle. 

Chuck Shikle, a former motor officer of the Cullman Police Department for eight years stated, “It is my opinion that the most crucial aspect of motorcycle safety lays within the rider. Riders are ultimately responsible for their own well-being and safety. Riders know that this sport has risks and approaching it with a willingness to learn and adapt will help keep them alive.”

Shikle is also the president of the Jack Aces R.C motorcycle club.

Every year in the spring they kick off the riding season with a motorcycle-training day.

“The majority of accidents in this area are operator error accidents involving improper braking, improper curve negotiating, or failure to avoid an obstacle. Training can really improve rider odds of successfully avoiding most of the latter type of accidents. Rider training and education is crucial as is proper safety equipment,” Shikle persuaded. 

Shikle also pointed out the importance of car drivers being aware of motorists, “Vehicle operators can help reduce their involvement in motorcycle accidents by simply understanding that motorcycles are harder to see and their speeds are harder to judge. Look longer and let your mind process the information you are seeing. Also, give riders a little more space when following. Motorcycles can stop faster than cars.”

It can be easy to not always pay attention while driving. Unfortunately when motorists do that, accidents happen and people get hurt. 

When asked why he rides motorcycles after knowing all the dangers involved, Shikle replied, “I can’t explain why I ride, I’ve ridden since I was 14. It’s a part of me."

As the traditional riding season rolls on, motorcycle safety awareness will ensure the continued safety of motorists driving on both two and four wheels.