Blue Knights saddle up for promotion

There's a right way and a wrong way to ride a motorcycle and the Blue Knights are trying to show the public, especially other motorcycle enthusiasts, the right way to ride.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to ride a motorcycle and the Blue Knights are trying to show the public, especially other motorcycle enthusiasts, the right way to ride.

The club’s members are also riding on the right side of the law, so to speak, since one has to be a retired or active police officer to join.

The Blue Knights are one of the world’s largest motorcycle clubs with more than 20,000 members in 635 chapters spread across 29 countries.

Yet little is known about the club’s Vancouver Island chapter, which has 34 members.

British Columbia IV, the Vancouver Island chapter, started in 1984, but the Blue Knights originated in Bangor, Maine, in 1974, where a few police officers wanted to form their own motorcycle club. Chapters quickly sprang up in other New England states, Canada and Australia.

Chapter president Ed Skotarek, a retired Ports Canada police officer, and Chuck Campbell, a retired Nanaimo RCMP member, are out to raise public awareness about the club by getting it involved n community events and activities.

“Our objective as a group is to associate with like-minded people – friends who ride bikes – and promote safe operation of motorcycles,” Skotarek said.

The Blue Knights already get involved with certain charity rides by helping out with organization, parade marshalling and traffic assistance.

“People see a bunch of guys on motorcycles and they think, ‘bad-asses’,” Skotarek said. “There’s another side to riding a motorcycle.”

The Blue Knights goals include advancing the sport of motorcycling by promoting safety and a fraternal spirit between law enforcement personnel and the general public.

Given those stated goals, Campbell questions why the club is not out actively promoting them.

“I look at their mantra and ask, what are you doing to promote safe motorcycling?” he said. “So let’s go down that path.”

“Let’s have a safety tip of the week or the month,” Skotarek said. “When you’re riding a bike, do your shoulder check. When you’re sitting at a red light, make sure you’re watching the vehicle coming up behind you.”

The club is looking for events and venues to promote motorcycle safety and become more openly involved with the community.

For more information about the club or to contact a representative, please visit the Blue Knights website at www.blueknightbc.org.

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