The arrival of Spring weather has motorbike enthusiasts revving up to hit the road.
Riders of all ages gathered in Lethbridge Thursday afternoon to spread the message about motorcycle awareness. As the start of Motorcycle Awareness Month, riders said they’re hoping to create a safe relationship on the road, whether it’s on 2 wheels or 4.
“Through the winter months when you get used to not seeing them of course you’re shocked that they’re back,” said Dallas Harty, President of the Southern Alberta Bikers. “It works both ways. The motorbikers have to respect the 4-wheelers just like they have to respect us.”
Eric Payne rides with the Lethbridge Harley Owners Group, and echoed what Harty said.
“I don’t want to put all the pressure on the motorists, because a big responsibility of us as riders definitely falls on our shoulders as well. I’d say it’s a 50-50 relationship.”
A number of riders are working to promote the cause from numerous motorbike groups around the city. Members all agreed drivers must have an increased awareness of who they’re sharing the road with. Tracy Dow is the Director of Driver’s Education with the Gold Wings Road Riders Association, and he added the month long motorbike event lets the public know it’s riding season.
“The bikes are starting to come out now. The main purpose of motorcycle awareness month is to acquaint the general public,” Dow said. “Be on the lookout for us, we’re out there. Let’s everybody do their part in making sure everybody does it safely.”
Bikers from five Lethbridge groups will ride together on May 11th for the 30th annual Motorcycle Awareness Parade. However this year, they’ll ride in honour of one of their own. The groups have dedicated this year’s motorcycle parade to Jeffrey James Rauhala, who they describe as a well known motorbike rider around the city.
Rauhala died Saturday afternoon after he was blown off the road while riding his motorbike near the St. Mary’s Dam.
“Wherever you saw Jeff there was a bike,” said Harty. “Jeff was a huge part of the biking community and I think that will be made very clear on Saturday at the celebration of life for him. From the vibrations we’re getting through the biking community there will be a big presence there.”
Riders will meet at The Brick Saturday, May 11th and ride through downtown Lethbridge for the parade.