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Born to be wild…but do it safely

BY TAMARA BELKOV Danielle Brosseau is a road captain with the Harley Owners Group, or HOG.  She says everyone has to be more safety cautious while on the road during the summer months.
motorcycle_ safety
Road captain for the Harley Owners Group Danielle Brosseau (back) and member Ellen Pagnutti gear up to promote safe driving this summer.

BY TAMARA BELKOV

Danielle Brosseau is a road captain with the Harley Owners Group, or HOG.  She says everyone has to be more safety cautious while on the road during the summer months. Vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders alike will all be safer if they remember to shoulder check and signal before changing lanes, turning at an intersection or pulling into traffic.

"Be courteous and give good direction," Brosseau advises. "Signal. If you follow the rules of the road and are courteous, people will be courteous back."

If you don't count the number of times she dropped her "hog" in her first year of rider training, Brosseau has 24 accident-free years under her Harley belt. In the past two years she has put 56,000 kilometre on her bike. Last year, on just one road trip, she logged 8,000 km in 12 days, riding to a motorcycle rally in South Dakota.

"I'm a road captain. I ride at the front of the group and when I move (in traffic), I'm moving the whole group of us. I find when I'm riding, I signal with my hands and my machine and I look.

You have to drive safely and be aware of what is going on. People want to see you. We have to be looking around all the time, we are all just as responsible. When you are on a bike, you have to make sure everyone knows where you are going next. So you try and make eye contact, especially at an intersection. I'll sit at an intersection until I see if (oncoming traffic) is going to move or not. Especially at this time of year, by May everyone has their machine out on the road and drivers of cars and trucks have not been used to seeing us out there. They have to start to look for us at intersections."

Long-time dirt bike enthusiasts, Tony and Ellen Pagnutti, nod in agreement from astride their bikes.

"Intersections are the worst for accidents," Ellen Pagnutti says. "I don't pull out as fast as a car does. I was nearly rear ended at an intersection the other day. It can be dangerous."

Pagnutti's white Harley with matching sidecar is both unusual to look at and wider than most motorcycles. She adds that sometimes on the highway truck and car drivers take too long a look and will start to drift into her lane without realizing how close they have come.

"The same thing happened when I had my trike. Drivers do have to be careful and give us the room we need to work."


Her husband Tony, preferring a 1960s retro red Hog adds, "Riding a bike has made me a better car driver. Now, I look over my shoulder more often."

Last week, the members of the same recreational riding associations gathered at Canadian Blood Services and donated over 50 units of blood during the Bikers for Life campaign.