DUBOIS---This is the time of year when more and more motorcycles are out on the roads, and drivers should be aware.
While everyone should be keeping a close eye on the road, motorcyclists have no guarantee that someone won't be distracted by a phone call or screaming kids in the back seat, so it's also important for them to learn how to react to dangerous situations that can arise.
Randy Neff and his son love ride around DuBois on their motorcycles on days like today, but they said sometimes it's hard to enjoy it when they're worrying if the drivers around them are paying attention.
"You have to thing for them too," Neff said, "Because you don't know what they're going to do. Just kind of anticipating, and that's what the biggest thing is; you have to be constantly aware. You can't relax for a second, it seems like, just constantly keeping your guard up."
DuBois Harley Davideson offers a class for new or experiecnced riders that teaches defensive driving techniques, and they say no one should be on the road without first learning the basics.
"If I would have never taught it or taken it myself, I don't think I would have realized a lot of the important things," said Charlene Benton, instructor the safety course, "As a new rider, when you're going out on the road, it's a pretty intense experience if you've never been out there, so you can get yourself in a big mess if you don't know the right way to go about being in traffic, being a part of traffic."
Many participants in these safety classes are surprised by how much they learn.
Larry Winckler took a safety class similar to the one offered at DuBois Harley Davidson and said, "There's people who had never, ever ridden to people who haver ridden 20, 30 years, and the same response from everybody after the class was over was that they had learned a lot of things that they either had forgotten or never knew, and they took people from never, ever riding a bike to learning how to handle and control a bike."
Neff and his son are safety course graduates, but he says all they can do is take all the necessary precautions, but they can't guarantee that others are doing the same.
"People turn in front of me and different things, but luckily so far nothing serious, but you know, close calls.
Many motorcycle owners said they feel that drivers have kept a safe distance on the highways, but feel more threatened on city streets, so they're asking drivers to slow down, pay attention, and share the road.
If you'd like more information on the new rider course at DuBois Harley Davidson, you can call them at (814) 371-5750 or go to http://www.duboisharleydavidson.com/ and click on "Rider's Edge."
For other motorcycle safety programs in your area, sponsored by PENNDot, head here