TOPEKA (KSNT) – Beautiful weather brings bold bikers out on the roads. Police and motorcycle experts want to remind Kansans to be safe.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 47 people died last year in Kansas motorcycle accidents, plus two more so far this year. Nearly a thousand were injured during that time frame.

While it is not required in Kansas, Sgt. Jeff Whisler–who heads the Topeka Police Department Motorcycle Unit–said helmets save lives.

Whisler said one of his motor officers got into an accident last summer. “That helmet saved him from a traumatic brain injury. Wear a helmet all the time because that’s the only thing protecting your head from the pavement.”

Whisler’s motorcycle safety motto is this: be patient and be seen.

He said, “You’ve got to ride in a manner that makes people see you. Don’t expect people to see you. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

Motorcycle training classes teach riders how to make sure they’re noticed by other drivers.

SMART program instructor Steve Christenberry said, “If you hold your finger up out at arm’s length, you can block the motorcycle and not even see it as it comes toward you because the profile is narrow.”

Whisler cited the “400-100 rule”. A car 400 feet away looks the same as a motorcycle 100 feet away.

He said, “They’re so used to seeing a car farther away and equate that to the motorcyclist actually being farther away from the intersection than they are.”

Experts recommend training for all motorcyclists.

Whisler said, “Whether you’ve been riding 20 years or 20 days, there are some basic skills that you need to learn. They could make the difference in you walking away from a motorcycle crash.”

Training and proper safety gear can save lives.

Click here for information on the SMART program.