Secretary Johnson, safety advocates visit southeast Michigan to promote motorcycle safety

MAY 17, 2011Image: Motorcycle - Riding Safely

Proposed military motorcycle plates are displayed to an enthusiastic crowd

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said today that the best way southeast Michigan motorcyclists can stay safe on the road is to get trained and licensed, wear the proper gear and share the road. Johnson made her remarks at a news conference at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills.

"Safety is a rider's number one priority," said Johnson, a longtime motorcycle rider who drove a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the news conference. "Even riders who have years of experience can be surprised at what they'll learn at a motorcycle safety course."

Johnson, who obtained her first motorcycle endorsement as a teenager, is believed to be one of the first women in Oakland County and the state to get endorsed. A motorcycle endorsement on a driver's license is required by law to ride on public roads.

Also speaking at the news conference were Dr. Jacqueline Shadko, Oakland Community College's Orchard Ridge Campus president, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Vince Consiglio, Rider Coach and president of ABATE of Michigan, Lt. Col. Jerome Hurtgen, Michigan Army National Guard, Susan Flanagan, St. Claire Shores resident and a Rider Coach, and Jeff Meikle, Utica resident and a recent graduate of an advanced rider course.

"Oakland Community College is proud to have hosted this important service that promotes the safety and well being of our community since 1981," said Shadko, about the college's role in providing space and resources for the motorcycle safety courses.

Bouchard and his motorcycle unit were presented with an award by Johnson for their commitment and hard work in promoting greater motorcycle and traffic safety awareness and for their commitment to protect and serve the residents of Oakland County.

Johnson also showcased her strong support for legislation creating new military motorcycle license plates for veterans under consideration and thanked the bills' sponsors,

Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, and Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, for their hard work. Artwork showing the plates with the emblems of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Air Force was on display.

"I would like to thank the legislature for its support of these new military motorcycle plates and encourage the passage of the bills without delay," Johnson said. "These plates honor those who have valiantly served our country and allow them to display their service with pride."

Motorcycling continues to grow in popularity across the state. Since 2007, the number of endorsed riders has jumped almost 50,000, to 553,000.

To earn their endorsement, riders must successfully complete a knowledge test and a safety course or a skills test with a third-party tester. A safety course is required for 16- and 17-year-olds as well as for adults who fail the skills test twice.

The Department of State administers Michigan's Motorcycle Safety Program. It oversees a network of 29 public and private training programs. More than 87,000 students have attended training since 2004. Visit for a list of motorcycle safety training programs or for more information about safe motorcycling.

Information about motorcycle safety training programs and other department services is available on the department website ( or through the official Secretary of State Twitter feed ( and Facebook updates (


For media questions, please call Randall Thompson at 517-373-2520.