Originally Published: May 22, 2010 9:46 p.m.
Thousands of motorcycle riders from around the world, including some from Yavapai County, will ride today to raise safety awareness for motorcyclists and car drivers sharing the road.
The Phoenix Motorcycle Riders Group and Phoenix MC Kruzers Meetup organized a ride that starts at 9 a.m. in Mesa and ends in Apache Junction.
The groups organized the ride after four of their member motorcyclists died and five others were seriously injured when a truck hit them while they were stopped at a traffic light on March 25 in Phoenix.
"This tragic accident has motivated us to action that we hope will result in safer roads for everyone," said John Fox, organizer of the Phoenix Motorcycle Group, Worldwide Motorcycle Awareness Ride Meetup, and a member of the Phoenix MC Kruzers Meetup group.
Colin MacDiarmid, High Country assistant district manager and board member of the Modified Motorcycle Association of Arizona, said at least eight motorcyclists from Prescott Valley, Prescott and surrounding towns will be joining the ride in Mesa.
Riders will wear yellow, green and orange T-shirts with the message, "Can you see me now?" on them to make themselves more visible.
For MacDiarmid, the ride is personal.
"A wonderful man in our community, Phil Siebenthaler, died on Highway 69 in Prescott Valley just a few months ago by someone who was allegedly unaware that his motorcycle was next to his truck," MacDiarmid said. "When the truck changed lanes, Phil was run off the road."
Just a few weeks ago, MacDiarmid found himself in a similar situation.
"A PT Cruiser driven by a very elderly gentleman pulled right into my lane without signaling or looking over while I rode my motorcycle next to him," MacDiarmid said. "If there had not been a center turn lane on that section of Highway 69, I too would have been another statistic."
MacDiarmid said he hopes that more drivers of cars and trucks will always use their turn signals and look, preferably twice, before making a turn, changing lanes, or pulling out onto the main roadway, to improve safety for motorcyclists and themselves.
At the May 13 Prescott Valley town council meeting, Mayor Harvey Skoog, a former motorcyclist, declared May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness month in Prescott Valley.