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ABATE OF IOWA *** DISTRICT 14 SHARE THE ROAD PROGRAM COORDINATORS

“ I JUST DIDN’T SEE THE MOTORCYCLE!” ….Frequently made comment following a car – motorcycle accident.

January 2001 saw District 14 ABATE of Iowa take its next pro-active step in working toward decreasing the statistics of injuries and fatalities resulting from car and motorcycle accidents. The district adopted the Share the Road program, and Co-Coordinators, Jack and Carolyn Gordy began taking the first steps in Southeast Iowa to bring this program to the eight counties represented in this district. Starting with high school driver education classes, Jack and Carolyn began taking Share the Road to schools in an effort to increase young, inexperienced drivers’ awareness that they must learn to share a common road with motorcycles. Getting young drivers into the habit of watching for motorcycles, hopefully will become second nature, as they grow older and more experienced.

From the instructors: It is our responsibility as experienced motorcyclists to teach those who are not familiar with motorcycles how to safely interact with motorcycles on the road. Who better to teach motorcycle safety than the members of ABATE of Iowa? Our combined experience along with the tools provided to us incorporated into Share the Road make it possible for us to instruct motor vehicle drivers young and old alike. ABATE of Iowa has taken a huge pro-active step in educating the general public on the importance of safely interacting with motorcycles. Our job as Share the Road instructors is to do just that, EDUCATE. Vehicles of every size interact daily with motorcycles on Iowa highways, 365 days a year, weather permitting. We believe that with educational programs such as Share the Road, lives can be saved, fatality statistics will decrease, and accidents between vehicles and motorcycles will sharply decline.

As instructors, we go into driver education classes and show the kids that motorcyclists are just regular people. The first part of our class consists of using pictures, driving diagrams, and sharing of information about our riding experience. We use a “closed eye” driving scenario, which places the students behind the wheel of a car that turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle in their own minds. The impact of the crash is heightened by the sound effect of Jack crashing a junk motorcycle helmet into the nearest file cabinet just at the perfect moment. It’s a startling experience for the kids, they don’t expect it, and it’s one that really drives the seriousness of this type of accident home. The second half of our presentation uses an 8-minute video produced by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation showing cars and motorcycles interacting properly in various driving situations. We follow with a 10-question quiz on the video. The last portion of our program involves the protective clothing that we wear – leathers, boots, gloves, eye protection, and helmets, etc. We usually get a “student volunteer” orride in. We explain what each piece is designed for from a safety and protection standpoint. This is usually a light-hearted part of the class, and everyone has fun.

We, along with the other Share the Road instructors for District 14, have presented this program to over 1,300 students and adults in the first year. We intend to take this program farther in educating more adult groups along with our driver education students. If you know of a group or organization that would be interested in seeing Share the Road, please feel free to contact us at 641-682-5394 or email wyldhrt79@aol.com. We provide this program at no charge, and would be grateful for the chance to present it for your organization. We believe that “Education is the key to safety.”, and with Share the Road, the life you save may be ours!