Sandia Park, NM - May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As the weather warms up, more riders are getting on their motorcycles and hitting the roads to enjoy the beauty of New Mexico. State Representative Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), who was elected in 2020 to represent House District 22 in the East Mountains, and is a motorcycle rider herself, encourages all motorists to "be alert for riders on two wheels and look twice for motorcyclists."

"This is the time of year when riders who have been cooped up during the winter finally get out and start riding more," said Representative Stefani Lord (Sandia Park). "It's also when visitors will be coming from out of state and traveling to New Mexico. It is important for all drivers, especially those unfamiliar with our roads, to give riders plenty of space"

Motorcyclists face additional risks, and even a minor accident can lead to severe injuries. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), in 2019, more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents. Of those motorcycle deaths, 42 occurred in New Mexico. New Mexico is frequently listed as one of the more dangerous states for automobile accidents; motorcycle accidents are no exception.

Both motorcyclists and motorists should be aware of their surroundings at all times. Check blind spots and use signals when changing lanes and passing. Distractions while driving, like texting, could mean you may not see a motorcyclist or bicyclist. Never follow a motorcycle too closely and always keep a safe distance. When at an intersection, look twice and allow enough space before turning.

"If you are driving while distracted, even for a moment, the results can be catastrophic," said Moose, the President of the Rio Grande Chapter of Guardians of the Children. "We ride to advocate for children that are physically and sexually abused. One distracted driver that injures or kills a rider means there is one less person to help an abused child."

Riders need to take precautions as well. Ensure you check your bike before riding and consider taking a defensive riding or refresher course to get yourself back into riding mode. Brushing up on your riding skills is a great way to stay safe. 

"Riders are never too experienced to learn something new or find ways to improve your technique," said Dan Orchowski, motorcycle training program manager. "New Mexico Motorcycle Safety invites you to check out their various training courses from beginner to advanced." 

Most importantly, enjoy your ride and come home safe!

For more information about the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program or Guardians of the Children - www.Lord2020.com/motorcycle-awareness