By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention Manager and Safety Specialist

May is a great month. It is the unofficial start of summer, it’s my birthday month, my wife’s birthday month, national motorcycle safety awareness month, national bicycle safety awareness month, and national mental health awareness month. That may seem like a lot to tackle in one article, but I’m going to do my best.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges everyone to share the road and be alert. The NHTSA also reminds motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant helmets and to always ride sober. In addition to proper helmets, arms and legs should be completely covered when riding, ideally with leather or heavy denim. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, and gloves should be worn to provide a better grip and protect your hands in the event of a crash. Brightly colored and reflective clothing will help make riders more visible to other vehicle drivers. For more information on how to operate motorcycles safely, please visit

NHTSA has a few things to say about bicycle operation safety, as well. They encourage safer choices while on the road to reduce deaths and injuries. Like motorcycle riders, bicyclists are urged to wear a properly fitting helmet. There are two main types of crashes for bicyclists: falls and collisions with cars. To decrease your risk of a crash you should do the following:

  • Ride a bike that fits you
  • Where reflective/hi-vis gear and use lights at night (white for front/red for rear)
  • Plan your route. . . choose the safest route with the least amount of auto traffic
  • Drive with the flow of traffic and obey the rules of the road
  • Ride predictably and work on improving your bike handling skills

For more details on bicycle safety visit:

As automobile drivers we need to keep in mind there are other lawful users of our roadways and that we need to be considerate and careful. We have all heard the saying “share the road.” This applies to automobile drivers as they interact with both motorcycles and bicycles. Yield just as you would to other automobiles. Give them both sufficient room when you pass. Nebraska’s Bicycle Guide points out that Nebraska has a “3-foot rule” when passing cyclists. The guide can be found here:

Remember to “Look Twice – Save a Life.” This means you should look twice at your surroundings while driving to keep an eye out for motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and even other cars. Doing this can save someone’s life, perhaps your own.

All this talk of traffic safety is a great segue into training. All three NIRMA Safety Specialists are certified to present the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Courses. The course we normally recommend is Defensive Driving Course 4-hour (DDC 4). We would love the opportunity to come out to your county or agency to present a session on defensive driving. The course covers interactions with motorcycles and bicycles, too. Driving is the most dangerous task we perform regularly; this is reflected in the number of claims we see due to member county and agency car crashes. DDC 4 is presented at no cost to our members. Please give me a call at 1.800.642.6671 or email me at if you would like to set up a session of DDC 4.

National Mental Health Awareness Month was started in 1949 by Mental Health America to bring attention to the importance of mental wellbeing. Mental Health America provides the following statistics: Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year and 46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14. As you can see, it is common for people to suffer from mental health issues.

The National Safety Council has developed a training program to help employers better understand the impact mental health conditions have on a person, their family, and their safety while on and off the job.

There are also many resources available at Mental Health America that you may access via this link

Have a safe summer!!