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Jastrzemski: Look Twice, Save A Life

Jastrzemski: Look Twice, Save A Life

Clerk Makes Motorcycle Safety a Priority in May

Author: Christian Peck/Tuesday, May 10, 2016/Categories: General

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North Tonawanda—As roughly 30 representatives of area motorcycle clubs riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles surrounded his podium, Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski vowed Friday to bolster motorcycle safety outreach at Niagara County’s three DMV sites, a move prompted by the recent untimely death of an area motorcyclist.

Jastrzemski held what he hopes will be his first annual motorcycle safety rally Friday at the North Tonawanda Department of Motor Vehicles office, announcing that motorcyclists with concerns about safety and other questions would be a priority at his DMV sites.

“We care about our bikers here in Niagara County,” Jastrzemski said. “We want to encourage these great folks to make safe choices every time they ride, though. Even the unpopular ones, like wearing helmets. After all, ‘there’s a life riding on it.’”

Jastrzemski was repeating one of the twin slogan’s of the DMV’s safety efforts: “There’s a Life Riding on It.” The other, “Look Twice, Save a Life” or “Look Twice, Share the Road,” is aimed at motorists in cars and trucks who pose one of the most significant dangers to motorcyclists.

“We’ve found that most motorcyclists are fully aware that there are dangers associated with riding, and work to mitigate those dangers,” Jastrzemski said.  “Since May is the national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and also the time of year a lot of our motorcyclists put their bikes back on the road, we thought it would be prudent to remind the people in the sedans and SUVs that they have steel and plastic and airbags between themselves and the pavement, and bikers don’t.”

Jastrzemski’s three DMVs will now feature locally-designed posters that urge motorcyclists with questions about safety to ask for information. In addition, he reminded bikers that in their community—which stresses “brotherhood”—there are other people working to promote safety as well.

Jastrzemski who was joined by American Harley-Davidson Business Controller Joe Hartrich, who announced a discount program for bikers who complete a motorcycle safety course, such as the one offered by the Niagara Falls-based MAC Street Rider Motorcycle Safety Program—also in attendance Friday. 

“This is the time of year we see folks coming in to register their bikes and put them back on the road,” Jastrzemski said.  “We want to remind motorcyclists to be safe, and equally importantly, we want to remind automobile operators to ‘look twice, save a life.’”

Jastrzemski’s efforts received high-profile buy-in from across Niagara County government, as County Manager Rick Updegrove, a motorcycle enthusiast and Harley owner, was among those riding to the event. Updegrove was joined by Niagara County Legislator Rich Andres, R-North Tonawanda, Sheriff James R. Voutour, and North Tonawanda Mayor Art Pappas , City Attorney Katherine Alexander, and City Court Judge Shawn Nickerson. The group all echoed Jastrzemski’s call for emphasizing motorcycle safety as the bikers return to area roads.

“I love being able to put some miles on my Harley with my friends,” Updegrove said before riding back to his Lockport office. “But I also want to see all those people again next spring. A moment of inattention by a motorist can be devastating for my fellow bikers.”

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