Petaluman Victor Vaz joined the 25th Run for the Wall last May after a friend invited him. About 1,500 participating motorcyclists take to the highway to ride from California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., to honor fallen or missing-in-action soldiers and to promote healing among veterans and their families.
Vaz was a one-time Elvis impersonator and skydiver said he’s been riding motorcycles ever since he was young. He’s no stranger to adventures but his ride to Washington in honor of veterans, was different — and better — than all the rest.
Some motorcyclists got into accidents along the way and were cared for by medical personnel that accompanied the caravan since the group had to keep riding and couldn’t stop to help.
For Vaz, arriving in the nation’s capitol was the pinnacle of the entire experience. A picture taken at the time shows him overcome with emotion.
“The event, educating people about (soldiers missing in action) definitely opened my eyes,” he said. “I’d never been to the wall, and it reached into your soul, brought out feelings I never knew I had.”
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After the rainy season make way for warmer temperatures in Washington, many motorcyclists are intent on getting back on the road. As soon as the summer season starts, motorcycles flock to the streets to take advantage of the beautiful weather.
But the summer also poses certain safety risks that aren’t necessarily apparent at other times of the year. Most motorcyclists tend to overestimate their own skills after being off the road for months. And drivers, accustomed to having the roads to themselves, may not give motorcyclists the attention they deserve.
The Bernard Law Group is concerned that these circumstances will contribute in the number of motorcycle accidents in the state. Kirk Bernard has seen firsthand the repercussions of such accidents, and he’s dedicated his life not only to assisting victims of motorcycle crashes, but to making sure such incidents never occur in the first place.
The market share of motorcycles has grown because many people are learning how to ride a motorcycle despite their sex, age and background. A recent report from the Insurance Information Institute indicates that the number of registered motorcycles continues to rise, from 8 million in 2009 to 8.2 million in 2010.
With so many people riding motorcycles at any given moment, it’s important that riders take the proper precautions.
To that end, Bernard Law urges all motorcyclists to consider getting motorcycle training, to wear the right equipment or safety gear, to learn how to be visible, to learn how to ride in different weather conditions and to always follow the law.
Following these steps can dramatically improve not only your safety, but the safety of all those you share the road with.
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