On Oct. 14, 2014, the State of Michigan approved the Nathan Bower Act, which requires that driver education courses in Michigan include instruction on bicycle and motorcycle awareness and safety.
The law was proposed in memory of Bower, who died on May 6, 2009, at age 19 after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his motorcycle in Brown City only a few miles from his Peck, Mich., home. The bill was signed on what would have been Bower’s 25th birthday.
Now, the State of Illinois is recognizing the need for motorcycle and bicycle awareness training in their driver’s education courses. Republican Rep. Tom Bennett of Gibson City, Ill., recently proposed a bill that would require that all behind the wheel instruction includes lessons on motorcycle safety and awareness “to ensure students understand their surroundings when operating a motor vehicle.”
According to the Illinois State Department of Transportation, motorcycle fatalities made up 15% of all vehicle fatalities in 2013 in the state.
While there are a wide range of contributing factors to motor vehicle accidents, including distracted driving, reckless driving and impaired driving to name a few, the first step is increasing awareness.
Awareness that motorcyclists have a place on the road. Awareness that motorcyclists have families and jobs and lives. Awareness that motorcyclists’ lives matter. And it’s up to every one of us to take a stand and promote the motto: “Look twice, save a life.” If you don’t, who will?