Tough on the outside, soft and squishy on the inside; as tough as some bikers may be, we are all susceptible to potential accidents and injuries. Motorcycle Safety Awareness can help motorists, other road users and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other.
Motorcycles are less visible than cars and and typically operate at high performance levels. Because motorcyclists lack protection they are more likely to be injured or suffer fatality when they crash. Head injuries are a common cause of injury and fatality and this is why helmet use is critical. However, only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use.
According to the Department of Transportation:
"A total of 4,295 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2014. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008. Motorcyclist deaths decreased by 16 percent in 2009 compared with 2008 and increased slightly in 2010, 2011, and 2012 before declining in 2013 and 2014. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2014 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997".
Nearly 50 percent of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with other types of motor vehicles in transport. In two-vehicle crashes, 77 percent of the motorcycles involved were struck in the front. Only 7 percent were struck in the rear.
Over 90 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle occurred on non-interstate roadways. Approximately 50 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle were intersection crashes.
SHARE THE ROAD SAFETY TIPS:
- Road users are reminded to never drive, bike or walk while distracted. Doing so can result in tragic consequences for motorcyclists.
- A motorcycle has the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.
- Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem there is enough room in the traffic lane for an automobile and a motorcycle, remember the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
- Motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. A motorcycle has a much smaller profile than a vehicle, which can make it more difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
- Remember that a motorcyclist can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to its smaller size. 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 – motorcycle signals may not be self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
- Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
- Allow more following distance — three or four seconds — following a motorcycle so the motorcycle rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
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