Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 8:14 pm
With the surprisingly warm weather in February, you may have already noticed quite a few motorcycles out on our highways recently. May is officially Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. I suspect this probably because in May the days become consistently warmer and more and more motorcycles are on the road.
Unfortunately, after a few months of colder weather, most motorists are not yet used to seeing motorcycles on the road again.
And, unfortunately, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, motorcycles fatalities have risen on an average of 10% per year over the last 20 years. NHTSA states that, per vehicle mile travelled, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a traffic crash. A significant percent of motorcycle fatalities involve a crash with a car, truck or other vehicle turning left in front of them. Approximately 33% of motorcycle crashes are intersection-related. And, because motorcycles are relatively small compared to other vehicles on the highway, it is easy for drivers of automobiles to misjudge the speed of a motorcycle.
Here are several tips offered by NHTSA on how to best “Share the Road” with motorcyclers:
• Remember a motorcyclist has the same rights and privileges as any other motor vehicle on the highway.
• Always allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Never try to share the lane with a motorcyclist. A motorcycle needs the full lane to maneuver safely.
• Because motorcycles are small and can be difficult to see, it can make it much more difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
• A motorcycle can easily be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to its smaller size. Therefore, always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
• Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle. Most motorcycles do not have self-cancelling signals and sometimes riders will forget to turn them off. Be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
• Road conditions that may be a minor annoyance for most motorists can pose a major hazard to a motorcyclist. Consequently, motorcyclists may need to change speeds or adjust positions within a lane suddenly in order to react to road or traffic conditions, such a potholes, gravel, wet pavement, etc.
Soon you will be seeing signs courtesy of ABATE springing up throughout our area, reading “LOOK TWICE – SAVE A LIFE – MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE”. Good advice for motorists everywhere for the coming season.
Source: An article appearing at ruralsafetycenter.org on 02/22/17 entitled “May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month”.