BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The rules of the road seem simple, but in the blink of an eye tragedy can strike.
“I hear stories everyday of a motorcyclist saying, ‘Oh yeah, a car pulled into my lane when I was sitting right there. They said they didn’t see me,’” said Bob Courtney, President of the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign.
The Motorcycle Awareness Campaign was established in 2004 by a group of riders who grew tired of seeing their fellow riders killed in accidents, Courtney says.
Flags are flying at half-staff at the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters as officers continue to mourn the loss of one of their own, 31-year-old motorcycle officer Cpl. Shane Totty.
He was killed doing what he loved - riding a motorcycle while working a funeral procession. His untimely death serves as a reminder for all drivers.
“We as motorcyclists are vulnerable wherever we are,” Courtney says. “It’s the simple thing of just being aware of your surroundings.”
The leader of the non-profit awareness campaign is hoping by spreading this message, there won’t be another tragic scene like the one Friday evening.
“It seems like a kind of simple message but scientifically someone driving a car really has to actively be looking for motorcycles when they’re driving because motorcycles are smaller,” Courtney says. “They take up less space and they’re much harder to judge distances.”
While investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened along Jones Creek Road to cause the crash involving the BRPD officer, Courtney encourages everyone to check their surroundings carefully to avoid a wreck.
“Consider this: you get to an intersection, you’re about to pull out in traffic and you look down the lane of traffic. If you’re not actively looking for a small footprint or smaller vehicle you might not see it the first time. So right before you make that decision to do that, take another look,” Courtney says.
In the meantime he says motorcyclists are taking extra precautions by getting more lights and louder horns.
“Until people start actively looking for motorcycles and being aware that they’re on the road. They share the same rights as other vehicles. We need to be as careful as we possibly can,” said Courtney.
The charitable group has 2,000 members throughout Louisiana. The group uses the membership dues to spread the message of awareness for motorcyclists around the state.
If you’d like to become a member, click here.