Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, fellow motorcycle riders from across Michigan and safety advocates highlighted May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, urging riders to wear proper gear, take advantage of safety courses and share the road.

"Michigan has more than half-a-million motorcyclists and as we head into the warm weather, we need to do everything we can to be safe - wear the proper gear, stay aware and take rider education classes," said Johnson, who rode a Harley Davidson Sportster to the event. "Car and truck drivers , please be cautious. With gas at nearly $4 per gallon and expected to go higher this summer, we'll probably see more motorcyclists on the road."

A new motorcycle safety video has also debuted. The 90-second public service video, a joint project of the Michigan Secretary of State's office, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan State Police, will air on the TV system in Secretary of State offices throughout Michigan. The video features Johnson, Michigan State Police Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.

In a statement, Kibbey Etue urged motorcycle riders to take responsibility for their own safety, saying "the law says motorcyclists must have an endorsement on their driver's license in order to ride. Nearly half of all motorcycle crashes involve riders who are not properly trained or licensed. There is no substitute for proper training and I encourage all motorcyclists to train smart and complete the necessary training before riding."

Other advances in motorcycle safety efforts include expansion of advanced rider motorcycle training courses and a new one-day returning rider or refresher training course.

Motorcycling continues to grow in popularity across the state. Since 2007, the number of endorsed riders has jumped almost 50,000 to 553,000. More the 60,000 of those riders are women.

A motorcycle endorsement on a driver's license is required by law to ride on public roads. Riders must successfully complete a knowledge test and a safety course or a skills test with a third party tester before an endorsement is issued. A safety course is required f0r 16 and 17 year-olds as well as adults who fail the skills test twice.

The Michigan Secretary of State's office administers Michigan's Motorcycle Safety Program, overseeing a network of 30 public and private training programs. Visit for a list of motorcycle training programs or for more information on safe motorcycling.