Partnerships and podcasts help spread the word about motorcycle safety across Alberta!
Author: Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society –
Date: Jul 22, 2019
Liane Langlois, President and co-founder of the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society, tells their story about why motorcycle awareness and safety is important to them.
A Call to Action
There seemed to be a growing number of “rider down” posts on Facebook, almost like it was daily. In spring 2015, the catalyst for me was 2 back to back collisions: one where a vehicle crossed the center line, seriously injuring a rider, and the second the next day where a driver hit a couple on a bike, killing the passenger and seriously injuring the rider and then fleeing the scene. It was then I decided more needed to be done for motorcycle awareness.
I met with Marty Forbes in June 2015 to ask for help approaching Gord Steinke of Global TV and long time rider to help create some messaging for TV in the form of Public Service Announcements. He decided at that moment to partner with me and hence, the AMSS was born.
Starting with 5 dedicated and passionate riders to create a registered non-profit society in the province of Alberta, AMSS has grown! We pride ourselves on our partnerships with media, government (provincial and municipal), enforcement, industry, community and more. We try to pull as many people together as possible to grow the messaging of how to share the road with motorcycles and get everyone home safe.
Plain and simple, our goal is to help reduce motorcycle related injuries and fatalities through awareness and safety campaigns and education.
We have messaging that targets all Alberta road users, including vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders, because everyone has a role in traffic safety.
We have created a library of PSAs produced and donated by Corus Entertainment and Bell Media. Every radio station has new messaging each year. All media personalities that ride have their own video PSA, and the radio guys are free to create their own personal message with some direction for topics. We launched our first campaign in May 2016.
Vision Zero at the City of Edmonton was the first government body to step up and say let’s work together. By the following year, 2017, the province stepped up to assist as well through grants and with our own consultant contact who has been so helpful every step of the way.
Each year our Corporate and Annual Membership grows, our social media presence becomes stronger, and our message is reaching further through TV, radio, print, and at times billboards.
You can find our podcasts here and our videocasts here. You can also watch one of our videocasts below.
How You Learn to Ride
Barriers to Overcome
Our first barrier was understanding that we needed to be registered to have our PSAs deemed legitimate with ThinkTV. The paperwork for becoming a society was surprisingly easy and quick. Followed up with guidance from our contact/producer at Corus Entertainment, we easily navigated ThinkTV to gain the necessary telecaster numbers for all of our spots.
Our second “barrier,” which wasn’t really a barrier, was that Motorcycle Awareness Month in Alberta was slated for July on the provincial calendar. We went ahead with May as that was the norm for the entire country and soon the province aligned as well, putting us all on the same page working together.
Third barrier was funding/poor economy. Starting a non-profit in a slow economy is difficult to gain traction in financial support. Our stress was alleviated with the assistance of an Alberta Traffic Safety Fund (ATSF) grant that helped us continue to gain traction while we continue to grow sustainability on our own.
A fourth barrier is the delay on province-wide statistics. We do try to tailor our messaging to statistical trends where possible but because of the way those stats are presented, it is usually 2 years behind. The City of Edmonton does have annual stats available earlier which helps but that leaves us a bit skewed as Edmonton culture is different from other Alberta areas.
A Successful Campaign
Both Marty and I were pleasantly surprised at how quickly every facet of media jumped on board to support this project. It was, in his opinion, being in media for 45 years, an unprecedented campaign that started strong in 2016 and keeps growing each year.
Being given the Honda Safety trailer in 2017 was another huge surprise. This allowed us to be able to be more visible and have a unique display that has drawn people in. Having Honda seek us out was just humbling.
The main reason why this has been so successful is because of the AMSS team. The core board members have always been strong and dedicated, often giving up a lot of time with family or even at times being able to ride themselves.
After that, it is the amazing partnerships that continue to help us grow. We can’t do this without every partner's dedication and part in our mission.
The biggest lessons so far have been to ignore the haters and that we won’t reach everyone. Accepting those is hard but has made us stronger. We don’t give up on those we won’t reach, we just focus on the vast majority and improving their behaviours.
Choosing the right people to start something like this is definitely key. If there isn’t total buy in, you won’t get anywhere.
We have seen an improvement on statistics which is the biggest driving factor for us. The City of Edmonton stats do come faster than provincial and since we started, the downward trend of motorcycle collisions has been a great pattern to see. We want to get those numbers as low as possible.
We are also changing people’s behaviours within our own community. You see people understanding the need for proper gear, riding responsibly, taking courses, whether it is advanced riding or motorcycle first aid. Being the respected hub for our community has allowed us to connect people in many directions.