May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

//May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

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


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.


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.

By |2015-04-14T16:35:44+00:00May 9th, 2014|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles|17 Comments

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  1. Floyd May 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

    These days,our biggest threat are the IDIOTS who are texting while driving !!! In my opinion,they are more of a threat than a DUI.. If you text while driving,STOP DOING IT !!! Make it a goal to never do it.. I drive trucks for a living and can see everything inside a vehicle as they go by me and Im not exaggerating to say that at least %30 ,maybe more,of people are playing with their phones while driving in heavy Seattle traffic..Be extra vigilant on your scooter because they are out there everywhere.

  2. MetricMike May 18, 2014 at 9:31 am

    All well and good But I have a problem especially with the younger guys on their sport bikes who zig-zag through traffic and give the rest of us a bad name Not everyone is a jerk

    • Daz May 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      You got that right Mike. Those damn Jap bikes drive me insane!

  3. George Pinder May 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

    For those Canadian riders who would like to take a rider safety course but are put off by the cost ( $400 in my town) if you are close to the US border try one of the American dealers, some offer the same course for 25 bucks.

  4. BRIAN May 17, 2014 at 3:09 am

    Harley slogan. “Live to ride and ride to live” I think that is really what riding is all about.

  5. BRIAN May 17, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I wish more people in South Africa would read this. As a rider my advice to all bikers is “Let the bike be your boss and not you be the boss of the bike.” Try ascertain what the next driver is going to do, don”t take things for granted.

  6. Daz May 16, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Not only car’s pulling into a lane that a motorcycle is in, it’s them on their gosh dang cell phone’s and not paying attention to the rider when both of you were just at a stop light, hello! I had that happen a couple year’s ago in the middle of rush hour and had to lay the bike down after crossing 3 lanes in somone’s front yard and bonked my head on a big oak tree. The worse part is is that that woman stayed just to see 3 men come lift the bike up off me, but when I ran to her van, she took off and I couldn’t get her licesence number. That is really bad that most people take off and do not take responsibility for their mistake, crash, or death of a person. Very, very sad!!!!!

  7. mike May 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    The rider in the accompanying picture is doing at least 3 things wrong from a safety perspective, that I noticed just at a glance.

  8. Jim Oliver May 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Excellent advice and especially taking a rider course (basic, advanced or experienced) to bone up on your riding skills. I am in GWRRA and recently reached Master Rider status, but not without taking some basic rider courses along with First Aid/CPR, etc. There is also a commitment to wearing all the gear, all the time. Most traffic deaths can be attributed to not wearing a good, DOT/Snell Foundation approved helmet. The rest is up to you.

  9. Michael Hardwick May 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Just a added note, be extra aware of the text and drive and talk and drive people out there as we just see so much more than folks in cars don’t we riders. Extra emphasis put on making drivers aware that in Ca it’s the law not to talk and text, be safe riders!

    • Jim Oliver May 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Excellent remark. These people are VERY dangerous!! In Arizona, they do have a “Distracted Driver” law, which can be used for any driver showing signs of distraction when driving. This is a catch-all for those talking or texting while driving as well, since the state refuses to pass a no talking/texting law like many other states, like your California.

      • Daz May 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        Lucky you have that law in AZ. In Ohio, only in certain cities do they have the law of NOT texting/yacking on the cell phone, but does anyone pay attention to it…………..NO!!!!!

    • Daz May 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      So many people DO NOT obey that law. We have it here in some places in Ohio. I feel it should be EVERYWHERE not to text or yack on a cell while driving!!!!!!!!!

  10. Scott Mellring May 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Another very good write up. One other suggestion for when making turns on your motorcycle. As well as using your turn signals, use hand signals as well. This should get traffic’s attention, even if they do not know what you are intending on doing, at least they know you are going to do something and (hopefully) will pay attention to you.

    Just a thought to consider…

    • Daz May 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Very good suggestion. I didn’t think of that one! Thanks for your imput.

  11. Scott Mellring May 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Excellent information!

    Only one other item I would use is as well as using your turn signals, use hand signals for turning as well. It will definitely stand out as well to traffic both oncoming and behind.

    • Daz May 16, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      OOOpps, I replied to the one above your’s…Read that one in response to your suggestion. I thought it was a goodie!

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