Share the Road

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  The Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors this month of awareness.  The goal is to help motorist understand motorcyclists driving behaviors. In addition to helping vehicles drive safely around motorcycles on our roadways. This is why the slogan “Share the Road” is used for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Tragically, 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers lost their life to motorcycle crashes during 2016.  Furthermore, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured during that time period. Additionally,  each year motorcycle fatalities keep increasing at an alarming rate, while motorcyclists remaining a small percentage of the driving population.  Here are some statistics to show the issue at hand.

  • Motorcycles make up just 3% of all registered vehicles
  • Motorcycles travel just 0.7% of all the miles traveled in the U.S.
  • 14% of all traffic fatalities are accounted for by motorcycle drivers
  • 26% of riders that die in a motorcycle accidents were alcohol impaired

Sharing the Road

The majority of vehicles on the road are not motorcycles.  Studies show that motorcycle accidents are often times due to the other drivers lack of awareness of motorcycles on the road.  The NHTSA performed a study and released this statement, “When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way,”

So why do drivers violate the motorcycles right of way?

  • Motorcycles are relatively small, and drivers don’t see them
  • Drivers don’t anticipate motorcycles’ movements
  • The driver’s view of the motorcyclist is obstructed, often by the vehicle’s blind spots or other vehicles
  • Distracted driver

Drivers Be Aware of Motorcycles

The department of transportation has released these tips to help other drivers be aware of motorcycles on the road.

Tips To Maintain Motorcycle Awareness

  • Slow down and assess your surroundings. Don’t rush when crossing intersection; entering the roadway from a parking lot or driveway; or turning left. Always give yourself enough time to thoroughly check for motorcycles.
  • When turning left, ensure there is enough time and space for the motorcyclist to clear the roadway before you initiate the left turn.
  • Don’t follow motorcycles too close. Always allow sufficient braking cushion between your vehicle and the motorcycle in front of you. This will give your vehicle enough room to come to a complete stop without a collision. Remember, a motorcyclist’s brake lights might not always engaged when a motorcycle decelerates.
  • Always double-check your blind spots when changing lanes or when starting to enter or exit the roadways. Adjust your rear and side-view mirrors and use them properly.
  • If someone you know drives a motorcycle, tell him or her to always wear a helmet—even if the law doesn’t require it. According to NHTSA, an estimated 740 lives could have been saved in 2015 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.