The cities of Sherman and Denison each recently proclaimed May as “Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.”

The annual designation is designed to remind citizens of the danger involved in operating a motorcycle and to encourage everyone operating vehicles to treat others with respect. The Texoma Chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education requested the proclamations and members were on hand at the city council meetings where the proclamations were made.

“We do this every year and we do it mostly to promote awareness in the community,” Skee Dodson, from the Texoma Chapter of ABATE, said as he accepted the Sherman council’s proclamation on behalf of his organization.

Sherman council member Kevin Couch read the city’s proclamation before the council and a number of ABATE members.

“Campaigns have helped inform riders and motorists alike on motorcycle safety issues to reduce motorcycle related risks, injuries and, most of all, fatalities, through a comprehensive approach to motorcycle safety,” Couch read. “It is the responsibility of all who put themselves behind the wheel to become aware of motorcyclists, regarding them with the same respect as any other vehicle traveling the highways of this country. And it is the responsibility of riders and motorists alike to obey all traffic laws and safety rules.”

Following the Sherman proclamation, the local ABATE members headed over to Denison to attend its City Council meeting and receive a second proclamation. Dodson said he always goes to the council meetings with new statistics about motorcycle safety and fatalities, as they change every year.

“In 2013, I was asking everybody to look twice at intersections because half of all motorcycle fatalities were from crashes at intersections,” Dodson said. “Two years later, that percentage had dropped from 50 percent to about 39 percent. So we’re actually looking twice, and we’re noticing more motorcycles and becoming more aware.”

However, he called 2015 the deadliest year on the highway for all vehicles in 50 years.

“On a national level, motorcycle fatalities increased about 8 percent in 2015 from 2014,” Dodson said. “In Texas, our fatality ratio only increased o.8 percent. So in Texas, we’re doing something right. We don’t think it’s because of legislation. There were no laws passed to save lives or anything. I think it’s because of communities and cities like Sherman, who are proactive.”

Couch also mentioned that the Sherman council has a new motorcyclist among its ranks as council member Shawn Teamann recently bought a motorcycle.

“I’ll ride anything with two wheels,” Teamann said.