Marrero resident pushes for motorcyle awareness and safety
Published: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 6:40 AM
By Gina Rivere Babin, Westwego Columnist
When Marrero resident and Westwego business owner Jeff Haydel started a chapter of the Motorcycle Awareness Campaign in New Orleans in 2008, he had one thing in mind: safety. “I was tired of my friends getting hurt on motorcycles,” Haydel said.
Haydel knows first-hand of the challenges of riding a motorcycle. He has been riding over 35 years.
In an effort to spread the word about motorcycle safety, the New Orleans chapter can be found at festivals and Night Out Against Crime events.
Upcoming events include:
Saturday at 7 p.m. is Motorcycle Awareness Night at the New Orleans Hornets basketball game. Tickets are $20 each.
On April 15, an escorted motorcycle parade will start at noon on Huey P. Long Avenue in Gretna and will travel Fourth Street to the Westwego Farmers Market. All motorcycle clubs, groups and individuals are welcome.
The party at the market is April 15 from noon to 5 p.m. Entertainment will be by Aaron Foret, Louisiana Kids, Will Cooper and Southern Groove, and many more. Food and drinks will be sold.
April 27 will be Motorcycle Awareness Night at the Zephyrs baseball game at 7 p.m.
On April 29, join the ride to the state Capitol. Line-up is in LaPlace at Interstate 10 and Interstate 51 at 9:30 a.m.
There are more than 2,000 members in the motorcycle awareness organization and more than 100 in the New Orleans chapter.
This organization passes out informational brochures, yard signs, hand fans and ink pens and places bulletins boards along the highways.
“We are just trying to get people’s attention,” Haydel said. He said that, these days, people do all kinds of things while driving such as talking on the phone or texting. “They are doing everything but driving.”
The organization urges motorist to be aware of motorcycles on the roads. The smaller size of the motorcycle makes them hard to see and it is also difficult to judge their speed and distance.
Motorcyclists should approach all intersections with caution and drive defensively and stay focused. They should stay out of the vehicle operator’s blind spots, he said.
The organization encourages all motorcycle riders to be properly licensed and trained to operate a motorcycle safely. All motorcycle riders should take advanced riding courses to become skilled at defensive driving. Additionally, they highly discourage operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
The New Orleans chapter meets every third Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Piccadilly Cafeteria on Clearview Parkway in Metairie.
For more information about any of the events or to join the organization, call Haydel at 504.874.1967.