In brief

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson stresses safety for ‘boomers’ on bikes

MICHIGAN — At a news conference celebrating May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson noted that a disproportionate number of “baby boomers” are involved in motorcycle crashes. She is encouraging those riders to take a safety refresher course, even if they rode in their younger days. Riders in their 50s and 60s are getting back into motorcycling and despite claims of “never forgetting how to ride a bike,’ it requires practice, judgement and skill to identify and avoid hazardous situations on the road, Johnson said.

She noted that male riders aged 50-69 were involved in 34.1 percent of all two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and 33.6 percent of all single-vehicle crashes (crashes just involving the motorcyclist). Female riders aged 40-59 are at the greatest risk of being involved in either a multiple vehicle or single vehicle crash. Johnson encourages boomers to enroll in the Returning Rider Basic Rider Course, the Advanced Rider Course and/or a class for three-wheeled motorcycles and a Basic Rider course for new riders. Visit for a list of motorcycle safety training programs across the state. To learn more about motorcycling and the Michigan Rider Education Program, go to R.S.

MSU Extension forms task force for responding to livestock transportation accidents

STATEWIDE — Responding to accidents is never an easy task. Responding to an accident that involves large trucks, people and animals can quickly turn into a chaotic event if the local response team is not prepared or trained to handle such an occurrence. With the amount of livestock raised in and around Michigan, along with large processors for poultry, sheep, beef and swine in the area, how to best handle accidents involving livestock is a question that has caused some concern.

Following several livestock truck rollovers over the last few years in Michigan and adjacent states, Michigan State University Extension formed a task force including representatives from Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Pork Producer Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Department of Transportation, law enforcement officials and livestock producers to address this concern. This task force recognized the need to have a network of trained people across the state to respond to these situations in order to help local police, fire crews, ambulances, veterinarians and other officials prepare for rollovers of semis pulling livestock trailers.

This event was held at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall, Michigan, an area chosen because of its proximity to I-94, I-69 and the I80-/90 corridors.

Participants involved in this training indicted that because of their participation in this event, they have developed or refined a skill and they now feel better suited to responding to a livestock transportation accident. This training also gave attendees an excellent opportunity to network with local law enforcement groups, as well as formulate key questions for continuous improvement of the different systems that they are each involved with. Each and every participant from this diverse audience specified that they are better prepared to address livestock transportation accidents and would be able to share critical information with their teams. These trained people will build a network of responders and act as advisers to assist first responders and emergency response personnel when these events occur and livestock need to be rescued from overturned trailers. — G.G.

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