May is Motorcycle Safety Month

Throughout May, which is designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the National Safety Council (NSC) will encourage drivers to safely share the road with motorcyclists and remain alert when they are nearby.

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to crashes than other drivers. According to NSC, fatalities involving motorists and motorcyclists increased 131 percent between 1998 and 2008, and the mileage death rate for motorcyclists in 2007 was 37 times greater than for passenger car occupants.

Many crashes occur because motorcycles are hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Therefore, it’s important that motorists always make a visual check for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.

NSC offers these additional tips for motorists and motorcyclists:

Motorists

  • Allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle.
  • Be extra cautious in intersections. Most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle.
  • Give a motorcycle the full lane width – never try to share a lane.

Motorcyclists

  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
  • Position motorcycle in lane where you will be out of a motorist’s blind spot.
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change.

“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.”

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