Motorcycle awareness ride planned for April 27

Shannon MacDonald
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Signs are being placed on Highway 10 and Highway 12 to help raise awareness about motorcycle safety.

Motorcyclists in Nova Scotia have a message for drivers: watch out for them on the roads.

As the weather warms up, more and more motorcycles are back on the streets. This means drivers need to be vigilant and watch out for their two-wheeled road companions, prompting some local motorcycles to launch a motorcycle awareness sign campaign.

Carla Lantz, from New Ross, became actively involved in campaign last year after a close family friend, Arnold “Arnie” Salsman, 51, was killed after being thrown from his bike. The cause of his accident was never clearly determined.

Her efforts are paying off. The motorcycle group Lantz is a part of, the Diamond Devilz, have had two bright yellow signs created that read, “Look Twice, Save a Life.” The signs will be unveiled during a Memorial Ride that has been planned in Salsman’s honour. The event will take place April 27, which is the anniversary of Salsman’s death. The group plans to make the memorial ride an annual event. Any proceeds raised from the ride will be donated to Ronald McDonald House in memory of Salsman and everyone is welcome to take part, regardless of whether they ride a motorcycle.

Lantz is hoping the government will become involved in the motorcycle awareness campaign so more signs can be put up on highways and elsewhere around Nova Scotia.

“Is it going to make you look twice?” Lantz asked, “If you’re told enough times, eventually you’re going to do it.”

She also suggested that the government tweak the motorcycle course new riders take to put more of an emphasis on safety and on riding in groups, something that wasn’t covered in the course she took, as well as the hand signals bikers use to communicate with each other and other drivers on the road.

Lantz would like to see regulations around the size of bike a new rider can operate.

“A person can walk out of that motorcycle course with their licence and go out and buy a 1500 CC bike,” she explained.

The size of the bike affects a person’s ability to control their bike physically, Lantz said. A less-experienced rider may have more difficulty controlling a larger bike than a veteran rider.

Lantz is hoping for a good turn out to kick off this maiden memorial ride.

The signs will be located on private property, one on Hwy #10 and another on Hwy #12.

Anyone who would like more information on how to sponsor a sign or be involved in the memorial ride can contact Lantz on the group’s Facebook page, Diamond Devilz.

Even if people don’t ride but would like to make a donation on the day of the ride, the group will be at the Coldbrook Post Office from 11 a.m. until noon. The ride will begin from there.

Last year turned out to be a deadly riding season for the province, with a higher number of fatal collisions involving motorcycles than usual. By August 2013, there had already been seven deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents. Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal reported a total of 11 motorcycle related deaths in total for 2013, which is a higher statistic than what was reported in the previous four years.

Organizations: Ronald McDonald House, Coldbrook Post Office

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Ross

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