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Bikers rally for Motorcycle Awareness Day

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._Bikers and law enforcement from across the state rallied at the Capitol for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Day, and bikers say the timing couldn't be more perfect.

Officials say thanks to safety training, the number of motorcycle fatalities dropped from 92 in 2013 to 50 in 2014. However, 19 bikers have been killed while riding in Oklahoma this year, including two over the weekend.

While bikers rallied outside the state Capitol to raise motorcycle safety awareness, it was the action taken inside the Capitol that really got them excited.

"I'm so glad that we got the no texting bill because one of the things that you see from the seat of a motorcycle is constantly this," said John Pierce, motorcycle safety spokesperson.

Governor Fallin signed the bill banning texting while driving. Bikers are relieved since it's the biggest safety hazard they have to deal with on the roadway.

"Drivers texting, not paying attention, blowing through stop signs," said Tim Schwanke, motorcyclist.

After Tuesday's rally, they hope drivers they share the road with will show a little more courtesy.

"There's too many distractions in motor vehicles. On a motorcycle you don't have the distractions because you're having to operate the motor vehicle," said Stick Kiener, motorcycle rider.

And while officials like Kevin Robison of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol say distracted driving is a major hazard to bikers, they say it's important that they take proper safety measures.

"Pay attention. Just like we're asking the folks in cars to do and trucks. Watch what you're doing. Don't do anything but ride. Stay within your skills," said Trooper Robison.

Robison says the OHP hopes to encourage safer riding through free motorcycle safety courses and setting a good example when it comes to dressing for the occasion.

"We encourage everyone to have the proper attire on while riding a motorcycle. The helmet, the gloves the protective equipment like you see these other troopers and police officers wearing," said Trooper Robison.

Because officials and bikers know the consequences, they say raising awareness of motorcycle safety is vital.

"I've been riding for 55 years and I've buried too many friends who died on a motorcycle. That's why we do it," said Pierce.

If you would like to participate in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's free motorcycle safety training, you can get signed up at ohpsaferiders.com.

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