Staffer with full helmetMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and it’s up to us to spread the word, and lead by example. We all ride, but we all drive too so when we are behind the wheel it is important to take extra care when driving. As you might know, the majority of car-motorcycle related accidents are caused by drivers pulling out in front of a rider. The resulting accidents are one of the leading causes of rider fatalities over the past decade, so make sure to take an extra moment before pulling into the street. We all expect drivers to be attentive, but as riders we cannot forget to give our fellow riders the same respect when we are behind the wheel.

In most areas, May is the month when the once cool weather changes into warmer weather and motorcycle riders start showing up on the roads after the winter lull. As a result, May was designated as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in 2004 in an effort to reduce the number of car-motorcycle crashes. Reports show that over half of all motorcycle accidents are the result of an automobile driver, not by any fault of the rider. That is a sad statistic considering that over 1,000 riders per year are killed as a result. The excuse most-often associated with the offending drivers? “I didn’t see them.”

In 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a comprehensive study of motorcycle fatalities and injuries that occurred during the 2011 riding season. The conclusion was that motorcyclists are more than 30-times more likely to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and five times more likely to be injured than drivers or passengers in automobiles.

A lot of good that does the rider when their sprawled out on the street, injured or worse. So, spread the word among yourselves, your family, friends and co-workers. Mention it in passing, get on the soap box and state your case, but whatever you do, help make people aware.

“Throughout spring and summer the number of motorcyclists on the road will increase. It is important for both motorists and motorcyclists to be aware of one another,” said David Teater, NSC senior director of Transportation Initiatives. “To better defend themselves, motorcyclists should follow the rules of the roadway and wear protective gear, including a Department of Transportation compliant helmet.”

Driver & Rider Tips for Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month

Motorists

Allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle.

Be extra cautious at intersections. Most crashes occur when a motorist fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle.

A motorcycle is a motor vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway.

Provide motorcyclists a full lane of travel.

Look for motorcyclists on the highway, at intersections, and any time you are changing lanes.

Allow plenty of distance in front of your vehicle and do not follow a motorcycle too close.

 Motorcyclists

Ride responsibly.

Position motorcycle in lane where you will be out of a motorist’s blind spot.

Use turn signals for every turn or lane change.

Take a motorcycle safety course, just to bone-up on your basic riding skills.

Make sure your motorcycle is in good condition. Check your tires, lights and overall mechanical condition.

Wear reflective or high visibility clothing, lighting and ride with the assumption that car and truck drivers don’t see you.

Wear protective riding gear including a helmet, jacket, boots and gloves.

Speeding, loss of control and impaired riding are the leading causes of motorcycle-only related crashes.

Watch for other drivers, as they may not be ready to watch for you.

Do not drink and ride.