Hitting the open road on a motorcycle has been described as a feeling of freedom and stress relief for riders. It can also be inherently dangerous.
"Motorcycles are for enjoyment. They're a mode of transportation. We have a right to the road just as any other automobile. We want to encourage and try to increase awareness about distracted drivers, people texting and driving," said Friends of Fallen Riders member Yolanda Singleton.
Even when drivers of vehicles are paying attention, motorcycles can become lost in your line of vision.
"If you can hold your finger up, against your windshield or towards your windshield, you can actually cover a motorcycle in front of you. They can disappear from your vision," said Singleton.
Motorcycle riders also have to be aware of the road and other drivers. There are at least three training programs in the metro. They teach basic handling skills, controls on the bike, and about safety gear.
"In order to become a skillful rider you must continue to ride. You have to practice. The more you practice the better you become. You can't learn it all in one weekend," said Southern Mississippi Motorcycle Training Program Coordinator Sherry Taylor.
She says women are taking to the road in larger numbers.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation only go back to the late 1990's but even then it notes an increase in female motorcycle owners.
"Female riders have increased. That sport has become very popular among females. Our classes kind of depicts that as well. The majority of our students are female students," said Taylor.
Bikers are a close group, according to friends of fallen riders. They reach out to the community and to the families of those who have been killed, such as Steffie Mitchell. She was killed Friday morning in a motorcycle accident in Madison County.
"It touches home. This is an individual that we know. This is someone who we're close too. So we want to offer additional support for them as well," explained Singleton.
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