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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Rallying Cry for Motorcycle Safety Featured on NM License Plate

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Thursday, August 31, 2023   

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable drivers on the road. That's why a New Mexico man started a campaign that led the state to issue the first license plate meant to help boost their safety.

In 2015, Richard Sturgeon was asked by his employers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to start a Motorcycle Safety Committee.

Eight years later, New Mexico has a specialty license plate designed by Sturgeon and approved by lawmakers that encourages drivers to pay more attention to motorcyclists.

Sturgeon - now officially the chair of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Motorcycle Safety Committee - said he landed on the proposal while brainstorming ideas about how to reduce accidents.

"If I could get a message of 'Look Twice for Motorcycles' and have a picture of a motorcycle on a New Mexico license plate," said Sturgeon, "then people would see it and think about motorcycles in real time while they were driving."

Per vehicle miles traveled in 2021, motorcyclists were about 24 times more likely than those in other vehicles to die in a crash, and were four times more likely to be injured - according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The initial fee for the plates includes a portion designated for an education training fund administered by the state's Department of Transportation.

Forty-percent of all vehicle-and-motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, because - as Sturgeon explained - their smaller profile keeps them hidden, or drivers misjudge how fast a motorcyclist is traveling and turn into their path, causing an accident.

"So, in that time that they've looked left and then looked right, a motorcycle will have made a lot of ground that that car is not aware of," said Sturgeon. "The car pulls out, and that T-bone is 42% of accidents like that."

Sturgeon says the standard yellow license plate includes the state's distinctive "Zia" sun symbol - used with permission by the Zia Pueblo.

There are roughly 67,000 registered motorcycles in New Mexico, well behind Montana - which has the most motorcycle registrations per 100,0000 people.




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