Tragedy, trailer teach motorcycle awareness
Last updated 4/25/2022 at 9:52am
Look twice, save a life.
That's the message of May, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and it got off to an early start last Saturday at Cowboy Harley-Davidson in Beaumont.
The dealership, along with Top Deck Flooring and Harley Owners Group (HOG) Chapter 4974, held a Rally featuring Orange County Sheriff Lane Mooney as keynote speaker.
Several hundred attended the four-hour event, including Police Chiefs Rod Carroll of Vidor and Tim Duriso of Port Arthur, Orange County Constables Jeremiah Gunter and Matt Ortego, Orange County Commissioner Elect Chris Sowell, Orange City Councilman David Bailey, Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham, Beaumont City Councilman Audwin Samuel and a delegation from the Beaumont Police Department led by Capt. Jason Plunkett.
A live band played and free jambalaya was served, but the center of attention Saturday was a display trailer designed to remind all drivers to be aware of motorcycles sharing the roadways.
The trailer carries the motorcycle and helmet of Corey Sennet, who died in an accident in Beaumont on Dec. 30, 2021.
The trailer also carries sign boards telling Sennet's story:
It was 5:46 that morning and the 33-year-old father of four was traveling eastbound on College Street to his job at Sam's Club when his cycle was struck by an auto crossing College.
Beaumont Police reported the car's driver was turning from westbound College onto a side street between Binswanger Glass and Raceway gas station.
The passenger vehicle waited in the turn lane and yielded to two eastbound automobiles driving ahead of Sennet, Dalton said.
But the car's driver did not see Sennet's motorcycle coming before turning left to cross three lanes of traffic.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,458 motorcyclists across the country were killed in road accidents in 2020, the last year for which statistics are available.
Motorcycle riders are 29 times more likely to die in an accident than occupants of motor vehicles, the Insurance Information Institute reports.
"Back in the 1980s, the American Motorcycle Association started trying to bring Motorcycle Safety Awareness up in the month of May," said J.W. Dalton, owner of Top Deck and a member of HOG Chapter 4974.
"Look twice, save a life," Dalton said. "We hope it's not just May that people think about that, but all year."
Dalton and Van Jordan, Director of HOG Chapter 4974, were trying to come up with a tribute for Sennet, who was the son of Jordan's sister.
They decided to make a portable display honoring Sennet and reminding motorists to drive safely.
"It's a wonderful thing they did," Sennet's mom, Terri Jordan-Singleton, said Saturday.
"When they came to me about it, I jumped on board and said, 'Sure.'"
With help from sponsors including Showtime Signs of Vidor, National Trailer Sales of Rose City, Jordan Construction, Top Deck Inc., Harley-Davidson and the HOG Chapter, the memorial on wheels was finished.
"After Corey's wreck, after the impact and shock wore off, we talked about what we could do," Dalton said. "This grew out of talks we had in January."
Plans are to display the "Look Twice, Save A Life" trailer at different events and locations throughout the year.
"I think this will get a lot of people's attention," said Ortego, Constable for Orange County Precinct 4.
Jordan-Singleton said she likes that her family's tragedy might play a part in preventing someone else's.
"I'm going to make it my business to be at every Motorcycle Safety Awareness event they have, every year," she said.
"I like it that other people can learn from this. We all need to be aware that the road doesn't just belong to us; realize that when we drive, we're driving for everybody on the road."