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Billboards promoting drivers’ awareness of motorcyclists were placed alongside Louisiana’s interstates this month.
Col. James Champagne, head of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, made the announcement at a news conference with members of the state’s motorcycling groups. The 10 billboards and a statewide campaign of radio advertisements, costing $50,000, were paid for by the Highway Safety Commission.
Louisiana has 105,000 registered motorcyclists. Seventy-five motorcyclists were killed in Louisiana in highway accidents in 2004, down from 83 in 2003.
Champagne said 63% of crashes involving motorcycles in Louisiana are the fault of car and truck drivers, not bikers. He said the majority of those crashes were caused by motorists inattentive to the presence of motorcyclists on the road.
One of the ten billboards says: “Inattention Kills. Drive Aware. Motorcyclists Are Everywhere.”
The Nevada Department of Public Safety is launching a similar program. The agency’s Office of Traffic Safety is using billboards and radio announcements in Las Vegas, Reno and Elko to encourage other motorists to watch out for motorcyclists. Last year, 48 motorcyclists were killed in Nevada.

Aprilia is in the middle of its “Back on Track” demo and display tour, taking place at AMA races across the country, and wants to tell consumers about the company’s current 3.9% sales program.
“The core of our company has always been racing, and this year we decided to go where the action is by visiting AMA races across the country,” said Aprilia Marketing Manager Michael Orr. “Track Logistics are the only thing keeping from us running demos at every event, but we’re excited to visit with Aprilia fans and owners, and racing fans interested in our unique brand.”
You can join Aprilia at the following events:
AMA Infineon Raceway, Calif.: May 13-15
AMA Pikes Peak, Colo.: May 20-22
AMA Road America, Wisc.: June 3-5
Honda Hoot, Tenn: June 21-25
Moto GP / AMA Laguna Seca, Calif.:
July 7-10
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, Ohio: July 14-17
AMA Mid-Ohio, Ohio: July 22-24
Aprilia tour sponsors include Michelin,
Pit Bull, Cycle Cynch, Dub Magazine and Bel-Ray.

Yamaha Motor USA, through its Star Motorcycles brand, will sponsor select races in the AMA Dirt Track Championship. Recognizing the strong cruiser motorcycle fan attendance at AMA Dirt Track Series rounds, Star Motorcycles has agreed to sponsor eight key events that are core to dirt track. Some of these rounds include the popular Springfield TT, Short Track and Mile events, Peoria TT, Duquoin Short Track and Mile, as well as the Lima Half-Mile.
Star Motorcycles will create cruiser motorcycle displays at each event that will feature stock Star motorcycles, customized motorcycles, and large accessory and apparel displays. Selected events will also feature the new custom Star Motorcycles semi-trailer, first unveiled at during BikeWeek in Daytona.
“You’ll be hearing a lot more about our Star line-up in the near future,” Brad Banister, Yamaha relations manager, told Powersports Business. “Dealers will learn about all of our plans at the annual business meeting in June.”

Organizers have scheduled the 2005 Honda Hoot to take place June 22-25 in Chilhowee Park, Knoxville, Tenn.
A gathering that includes riders on all brands and styles of two-wheeler, the Hoot is expected to attract more than 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts who’ll take part in organized activities or self-guided excursions through eastern Tennessee.
The three-day affair includes riverboat breakfasts; the Cherohala Skyway ride; a poker run; a big charity ride benefiting the Ride for Kids; and demo rides offered by Honda, Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Ural, Vespa and Victory.
Also, the Honda Rider’s Club of America plans to hold a members-only event at the nearby tennessee Museum of Aviation.
The Hoot, now in its twelfth year, brings more than $15 million in revenue to East Tennessee, a figure that does not even include the additional revenue generated by local organizations and attractions.
Vendors seeking the opportunity to showcase at the event are asked to visit www.hondahoot.com for more information.

Nineteen South Jersey residents were arrested and a total of 40 motorcycles and ATVs were seized earlier this month when Pennsylvania state troopers busted a motorcycle theft ring based in the state’s Burlington County.
Law enforcement officials say the arrests followed a 14-month investigation dubbed “Operation Ninja.” The sting was conducted by troopers, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and three local police departments.
The gang evidently stole motorcycles from throughout the Philadelphia region and replaced the vehicle identification numbers with bogus tags. The thieves then resold the bikes to customers as far away as California and Georgia.
About $500,000 worth of stolen vehicles was seized.

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