Bikers preach safety while raising funds for charity | NevadaAppeal.com
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Bikers preach safety while raising funds for charity

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal The Harley Owners Group, HOG, eats during a fundraiser for Blue Star Moms and general motorcycle awareness in Dayton on Wednesday.
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The Carson Tahoe chapter of HOG, the Harley Owner’s Group, wants to make sure drivers in the area are aware of something: their motorcycles.

The problem, say veteran riders, is too many people not paying attention well enough to see their cycles approaching.

Safety was the primary topic of conversation at the group’s annual get together to raise money for Blue Star Moms, a non-profit organization that sends packages to troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Patti Rodeffer of Dayton said anyone interested in making a donation to that cause should visit bluestarmoms.org on the Internet.

“This is Independence Day and our troops need all the recognition they can get for the efforts they put forth in keeping America free,” she said.

Riders point out that, during the summer, there are a lot more motorcycles on the roads and that, too often, drivers of cars and trucks don’t seem to even see them.

Bill Dixon, who said he has been riding for 60 years, said one of the big problems is too many people driving while on their cell phone instead of paying attention to traffic.

Dave Lund echoed Dixon’s comments: “There have been at least six moments when I’ve looked right into the eyes of people coming at me and they don’t see me. They go right ahead and do what they were going to do and pretend like you aren’t even there.”

Lund, Dixon and Chris Moses, also a HOG member, said safety is especially important to older riders who can now afford the bike they always wanted but maybe haven’t ridden in a number of years, if ever.

Moses urged those riders to join a group like HOG, which helps less experienced riders get better and even conducts safety classes.

Dixon said new or rusty riders can get a lot of help from veteran riders.

And Lund pointed out that the vast majority of serious motorcycle accidents occur in the rider’s first year.

Rodeffer said riding with a group is also safer because cars and trucks can’t avoid noticing several riders all together on the road. But she said a continual problem is drivers cutting in between members of a group, which she said endangers everyone.

“We ride like this for better visibility and when you break the group up, you’re only putting people in danger,” she said.

“And it’s like a family,” said Dixon. “Everybody takes care of each other.”

He and the others also objected to the bad image many groups like HOG suffer because of motorcycle gangs. They pointed out that, with full sized Harley’s and other bikes costing upwards of $20,000, people have to be pretty successful to afford one.

“We’re doctors, lawyers, businessmen,” said Lund, himself a doctor.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.