With about 7,000 registered motorcyclists in Hernando County, it is more important than ever for motorists to observe caution when driving.
That was the message Tuesday from local Freedom Chapter of ABATE of Florida members, who told county commissioners that public education must continue.
County Commissioner Dave Russell presented a resolution at the start of the proceedings proclaiming May as Motorcycle Safety Month in Hernando County.
"With the approach of spring and the increase in motorcycle traffic, efforts must be made by all motorists to help reduce motorcycle accidents," the resolution read.
It goes on to cite the fuel efficiency of motorcycles and how they help reduce congestion and parking congestion.
There has been one fatality this year involving a motorcyclist. On March 11, a Pennsylvania biker was killed when he struck another vehicle that veered into his path off Shoal Line Boulevard in Hernando Beach.
In 2011, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office traffic unit worked 1,556 crashes. It is unknown how many involved motorcycles.
And that figure does not include statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol, Brooksville Police Department or sheriff's office patrol deputies.
Through last month, there have been 404 total crashes.
ABATE is a nonprofit organization of motorcyclists who lobby to educate the government and the public to promote safety, training, safe cycling and political awareness.
ABATE funds its work through toy runs, poker runs, camp-outs and other activities, according to its website.
"We are your neighbors and friends who work, pay taxes and get involved in our community," ABATE's mission statement reads. "We serve in and support our military and country, believe in freedom and use all legal means to protect our rights without infringing on the rights of others."
The Motorcycle Safety Association offers these tips to motorcyclists:
The MSA also has published a list of 10 things car and truck drivers should know about motorcycles. To see them, visit www.msf-usa.org/downloads/motorist_awareness_tips.pdf.