Today, more people are riding motorcycles than ever before. Motorcycle riders represent almost every demographic group in the country. Riders now tend to be more affluent than 30 years ago. The average age of riders has increased, and more women are riding than ever before. In 2010, 4,502 motorcyclists were killed –while this is a decrease of 15% from the 5,312 motorcyclists killed in 2008, saving more lives is the ultimate goal. 1
Now that warmer weather has covered most of America, motorcyclists everywhere will soon be out in full force
In response to this increase, the NHTSA has proclaimed May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” During this time – and during the rest of the year – motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclist killed and injured in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road. All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted.
Motorcycle safety is a Two-Way Street
Automobile drivers need to be vigilant to look for motorcycles as they are harder to see, and are far more vulnerable to road hazards and impacts. Drivers of cars, trucks and buses are reminded to look out for and share the road with motorcycle riders. Things as simple as always using your turn signal, even if you don’t see another vehicle around, and scrupulously checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes can potentially avert disaster.
Motorcyclists have responsibilities too, in that they are reminded to obey traffic laws, wear DOT-compliant helmets and other protective gear, and make themselves visible by wearing bright colors and using reflective tape. In addition, motorcyclists are responsible for being alert to the actions of other drivers, and never EVER getting behind the handle bars while impaired. After all –Drinking slows down a riders reactions to curves.
Increasing safe riding and cooperation between all road users and motorcyclists will help to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.
Share the road with motorcycles with these safety tips:
Safety tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
- Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
- Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
- Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
- Allow more following distance – three or four seconds – when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
- Never drive while distracted.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
- Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
- Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;
- Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
- Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
- Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity;
- Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
- Never driving while impaired.
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1. Seven Motorcycle Safety Tips (Infographic)
2. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month (Consumer Reports)
3. The 8 Most Common Motorcycle Injuries (and How to Avoid Them)
4. Common Mistakes for New Riders to Avoid
5. A Motorcycle Crash Course Some Motorcycle Accident Facts
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