The sudden drop in temperature and blustery wind late Thursday afternoon did little to discourage motorcycle club members and individuals from Waxahachie and the surrounding area from coming together in front of City Hall as Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

With May being the National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, many of the motorcyclists have been visiting cities across the state to promote motorcycle safety.

The Sun had an opportunity to visit with Waxahachie resident Jimbo McMullen, who has been riding motorcycles since he was 16 years old. 

“I’ve been riding for 41 years,” he said. “Some of us are independent but we kind of branch off of the Coalition of Independent Riders.”

COIR is not a membership funded organization, riding or motorcycle club, but rather a grassroots political organization that unites independent and motorcycle clubs from across the state to bring a battalion of voices to be heard at the state Capitol in Austin, according to the organization’s website.  

“One person, whispering alone in the forest, makes very little noise. An army, a legion of men and women, standing in the forest raising their voices in united cacophony, can be heard across the nation,” the website reads.

Working to raise awareness for safety during the month of May finds the motorcycle clubs working together for their common cause, motorcycle safety. In addition to traveling throughout the state, members often speak at civic clubs about safety and many travel to Austin when the legislature is in session to get new laws enacted or old ones changed to better protect the cyclists.

Clubs in attendance for the reading of the Waxahachie proclamation included the Gryphons Club, the Freedom Connection MM – Ellis County, the BONE Motorcycle Ministry and Guardians of the Children. Paul and Elizabeth Palmer, owners of The Shop, a motorcycle shop on Main Street where cyclists often gather were also in attendance with their shop dog, Nola, to show their support.

Jimmy Vaughn recommends ridesafeintexas.homestead.com as a website offering a good motorcycle safety and awareness program for bikers. 

“We are grouped with the reckless riders who showboat,” Vaughn said. “It doesn’t matter if you are on a moped or a high-end machine, we all have the same laws to follow.”

Motorcycle riders at the event included the Palmers, McMullen, Vaughn, Johnny Sutton, Danny and Sylvia Stowe, Lenny Smith, Yogie DeVaney, Karl Kowalski, Ron Landa, Ginger Sutton, Autumn Lambert, Keith Cornwall, Sara Cornwall, Paul and Cheri Vinson, George and Melissa Lopez, Brittany Osteen, Shane Spainhour and Shane Jr. 

“It is awesome that clubs and independents can come together as one to promote our one goal, promoting motorcycle safety and equality,” Danny Stowe said.

Strength expressed his praise for the group and how much he enjoys these events. 

“I have attended several of these during my time as mayor but I will never forget the first one I attended,” he said with a smile. “Buck Jordan was mayor and was ill on the day of the event so I went in his place. The cyclists commented, ‘who is this guy?’ Here I am, several years later, with this being my last one as mayor.”

While the proclamation ceremonies are held to raise awareness, motorists are asked to watch out for motorcyclists every day of the year.

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