LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, and many valley riders "live to ride", but this month transportation officials are urging motorcycle riders to "ride to live" with their "Save Yourself" campaign.
While most commuters are on four wheels, motorcycle riders operate with just two, making conditions much more dangerous for motorcycle riders.
Officer Michael Lemley with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says recent statistics show that motorcycle related fatalities are at an all-time high.
"We have a total of 49 total vehicle fatalities, 12 of them are motorcycles," Lemley said.
Officer Lemley rides a bike himself and says the biggest distraction for riders, aside from speeding, is all mental.
"Some of the biggest mistakes, one is lack of focus. They get on the bike and think of everything else, but riding that motorcycle."
Taking just one motorcycle safety course is what instructor Steve Ritchey with the Red Rock Harley-Davidson Riding Academy says could be the difference between life and death for motorcycle riders.
"It's just a really good tune up for riders that have already been riding, but quality education is key," said Ritchey.
Las Vegas valley motorcycle rider Don agrees, saying you're never too experienced for a motorcycle safety course.
"If you're an experienced rider and you haven't taken a safety course in quite a few years, take the professional course, that's an upgraded course," Don said.
Entities like the Regional Transportation Commission and Nevada Highway Patrol urge riders to be mindful of their own safety by launching campaigns the "Save Yourself" campaign, but some of the responsibility when it comes to motorcycle riding safety, is on drivers as well.
"The biggest thing a driver can do to be aware of motorcycles is to actually see them. That is one of the leading components to an accident is they say they never saw the motorcycle," said Lemley.
That huge safety hazard is why valley motorcycle rider Michael Ejiawoko came up with an idea to make sure you see the motorcycle in front of you with Lit Gear.
"Most motorcycle riders like the color black, so you're just blending into the pavement and into the night, but adding lights is obviously going to make you much brighter," Ejiwoko said.
Using Bluetooth technology, Lit Gear can mimic the traffic signals on the bike to also appear on your jacket or any motorcycle apparel you own, making lights and turn signals more visible for other drivers.
"I experience a lot of situations where I can tell, people can see me, you know. Riding on the freeway a lot, you see people in their mirrors, they'll look at me, and they will look again, and if they're getting ready to move over, sometimes they'll move right back," Ejiawoko said.
With May being Motorcycle Rider Safety Awareness month, officials are urging riders and drivers, whether you're a beginner or an expert, to make sure to take a safety course, before hopping on a motorcycle.
"Be considerate for us out here, we're watching out for you, please be considerate for us," said Don.