- Associated Press - Sunday, August 20, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska officials are deploying eight trucks around the state as part of a campaign to promote motorcycle safety.

The 10-week Nebraska Highway Safety Council campaign began Wednesday, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . State Department of Transportation, law enforcement and motorcycle safety groups created the campaign after a series of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists this year, especially in the last six weeks.

Signs on the delivery trucks’ panels warn motorists to “watch for motorcycles everywhere” by checking mirrors and looking both ways when at intersections and changing lanes, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Transportation data shows there have been 22 motorcyclist fatalities so far this year, compared to 14 at this time last year.

Nebraska Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek said similar campaigns funded by federal motorcycle safety grants have been used before to drive awareness, including ones in 2009 and 2012. He said motorcycle-related fatalities declined in the years following those campaigns, although it’s difficult to directly attribute declining numbers to those campaigns.

“You want to reach drivers, and this is a way to do it,” he said.

Campaigns like this area bout spreading awareness to save lives, said Gary Neeman, assistant state coordinator of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education of Nebraska.

“We’d like zero fatalities from now until the end of the year. … so we’ll do anything that will affect driver behavior,” Neeman said. “One fatality is one too many.”

Data shows that in the 17 most-recent motorcycle-related fatalities in the state, 13 involved traffic violations.

“I think everyone of us can look back on a time when we changed lanes or pulled out and didn’t see a motorcycle,” said Terry Wagner, sheriff of Lancaster County.

The safety council is providing a one-day refresher course for veteran bikers on Aug. 26.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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