Motorcycle Awareness Project in the News

Twin Valley Rider’s Motorcycle Awareness Project was featured on WSLS Channel 10 News this past Thursday, January 24. Twin Valley Riders partnered with Frontline Eurosports, Star City Powersports and Lawrence Transportation Systems to produce a rolling billboard on one of Lawrence’s vans. The billboard encourages motorists to Look Twice – Save a Life and features a photograph of four motorcycles traveling directly toward the viewer. The motorcycles, along with riders in full protective gear, were provided by Frontline and Star City. The image and design were produced by John Tice Photography. TVR member, Mark Carter conceived the project, brought the partnership and funding together and managed the project to completion. Funding was supplied equally by Twin Valley Riders, Frontline Eurosports and Star City Powersports. Lawrence Transportations Systems saw this as an opportunity to promote highway safety and worked out a program that would fit our budget. The truck is used locally and will be made available for special events.

Continue below the video for details on how the project evolved.

How It All Started

Early in 2012, after the club’s second successful Twin Valley Rally was in the can, members began discussing ways of giving back to the community. Ideas came and went but none seemed to be an exact fit. Then Mark Carter, who works at Lawrence Transportation, seeded the idea of a motorcycle safety awareness project. He felt that Lawrence would be willing so he pulled some estimates together and presented it to the club in the June. The club was preoccupied at that time with organizing the 2012 Twin Valley Rally, but the decision was made to pursue the project immediately following the rally in September. Mark sent letters to the prospective partners, who readily agreed, and the club appropriated funds in October. One week later a preliminary design was approved.

An early November warm spell presented the perfect opportunity for the photo shoot. Frontline and Star City each sent two bikes with riders in full gear––an adventure tourer, a dual sport, a sport bike and a cruiser. The Explore Park spur off the Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Roanoke, had already been selected and scouted. The riders made a dozen or more passes, adjusting order and spacing as requested each time. Mark and John chose the best of a handful of selects from more than a hundred images shot that morning.

One Final Detail

The design was now ready to be comped and presented to the partners for final approval––well, almost. A good number of message ideas had been submitted by club members, each having its strengths. We needed a final decision for the headline. Would it be one of the submissions or a combination, or was more input needed? There were copyright concerns because some of the ideas were either similar to or exactly the same as phrases that had been published previously. Mark and John decided that the most succinct, direct message being considered was Look Twice – Save a Life, which had been published, and they didn’t know if they would be able to get permission.

The Problem has Names

It was soon discovered that Diane Pearson is actively distributing bumper stickers, securing billboards and seeking new ways of distributing this message in memory of her son Gene Pearson, who was killed in Florida in May 2005 when a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle. Diane is working in concert with Kathy and Patrick Malone who lost their son, Lance, to a collision involving a negligent right of way violation in 1995. John left messages for both Diane Pearson and Kathy Malone and soon received a call from Diane. She not only gave us permission––she was ecstatic that we wanted to use it in our project. She sent a good supply of bumper stickers for us to distribute as well.

The Problem has Numbers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,502 motorcycle fatalities in the US in 2010. Approximately sixty percent of these were due to collisions and approximately one-third of these collisions were due to motorists turning into the path of a motorcycle, presumably because they didn’t see it or severely misjudged speed and distance. That’s potentially a thousand lives that could be saved each year if every motorist would make it a habit to Look Twice. This scenario, typically a left-turn across the lane or pulling out from a side road, is recognized by experienced motorcyclists as the most significant risk that cannot be greatly mitigated by a safety conscious motorcyclist’s own behaviors. Let’s make it a habit ourselves, and teach our children, to always Look Twice – Save a Life.

WSLS Channel 10 producing the news story

Lawrence crew installing the banner.

Finishing the corners

Producing the photograph on a warm fall morning.

For those curious about the size of the image, it is 271 inches wide at 75 ppi, or 20,325 pixels. The final image is CMYK and 632MB, but it grew to a GB and a half while editing. Resolution (or the perception of) is relative to viewing distance, so from two or three feet it will appear similar in quality to a computer screen. From about ten feet it’s comparable to a high quality digital inkjet print or typical offset printing. Color fidelity is a function of the inks and base material, which in this case uses the same color profile as standard web offset and so will appear similar to direct mail catalogs you might receive in the mail. The image was sharpened some, but only one area had significant retouching. Can you spot it comparing the production photo above with the installation photos?

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