Local police met with a group from Pepperell High School this week to discuss an innovative campaign launched by students to address motorcycle awareness and safety.

The student group Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) wants to “put the power in your hands” to protect motorcycle riders on the road.

The campaign called “Cycle Clap” uses a game theme to encourage passengers of a motor vehicle to clap when they see a motorcycle. Students want to create an automatic clap response for people when they see a motorcycle to help drivers be more conscious of motorcycles traveling on the road. The game is similar to “punch bug” that friends sometimes play when someone sees a Volkswagon Beetle, said Eva Ellenburg, a junior at Pepperell High School. “It’s more than just a clap,” she said. “We want to create a fun habit that raises awareness.” Ellenburg and her classmates visited the Floyd County Police Department Monday to meet with FCPD, Rome Police, Floyd County Sheriff and Georgia State Patrol to unveil their marketing plans. The campaign has support from the state’s Governor Office on Highway Safety and motorcycle safety advocates. “I didn’t see him” is one of the most common statements made by drivers when a crash occurs with a motorcycle, Ellenburg said.

This statement is frequently made because vehicle drivers are either distracted or mentally don’t recognize the presence of the smaller motorcycle. “People are very game oriented,” she said. “We want to make it so much a part of the culture that kids have motorcycle awareness before they even start driving.” There have been occasions when she and family will be traveling and will clap when they see a motorcycle. Anyone who is not familiar with their game is immediately confused. “It gives us an opportunity to explain and share about motorcycle awareness,” she said. “We can be in the middle of conversation – clap – and keep talking.”

The student group explained that random clapping is an unusual act that is distracting enough, that when it’s combined with the awareness campaign, drivers will immediately know there’s a motorcycle nearby. Police support the campaign and hope it can reach a viral level that goes nationwide using the tag: “CycleClapSafe.”