Billie Doherty is the general manager of the Harley Davidson motorcycle shop in Lake Charles. Growing up around motorcycles and riding them his whole life, he thinks he has the key to motorcycle safety.
"You don't get into riding around and thinking about your day and enjoying your ride," said Doherty. "You pay attention to your surroundings and you'll be a lot safer."
Paying attention - Doherty's number one safety tip and agreed on by the motorcycle riders at the Open Door Biker Church in Sulphur.
"I'm watching them to see if they're going to try to take off," said motorcyclist Roy Gevemberg. "I watch their front tires, I watch to see if the vehicles moving or not moving."
Vince Guidry is pastor of the church and a member of the church's Revelators Motorcycle Ministry - a ministry he says promotes safety and awareness when operating a motorcycle.
"We like to have all the new riders come in and we have a safety and we say, be alert, be aware and be alive," said Guidry.
It's not just the loose thought of being safe that motorcycle riders should keep in mind. State law mandates understanding that thought by the enforcement of motorcycle license endorsements.
"We still find people who are operating motorcycles without the proper endorsement," said Louisiana State Police Sgt. James Anderson. "Louisiana state law requires that you have a motorcycle endorsement. That entails satisfactorily completing a written as well as a riding test before you're authorized to operate that motorcycle."
Harley Davidson offers riders who need to get their endorsements the chance to enroll in rigorous class sessions where they learn about safety through different scenarios. All things that have to be understood before even stepping foot on a bike.
It's classes like the ones offered at Davidson and through the Louisiana State Police that has the potential to save lives.
"Accidents are going to happen," said Doherty. "The catch of it is if you eliminate what the extent is going to be, you're putting yourself in a better situation."
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana State Police is offering their next safety class in November. For information and scheduling, contact Larry Ourso at (225) 925-6113, ext 224.