Summer fun is around the corner, and motorcycles already can be seen cruising in your local neighborhoods.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Government agencies and safety organizations are reminding both motorists and motorcycle drivers to practice safety while on the road.
In 2013, 4,668 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes, and nonfatal injuries that year totaled 88,000, according to data published by the National Safety Council.
"As more and more people enjoy the fun and excitement of motorcycling, we want to remind both motorcyclists and motorists to share the road safely," Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania governor, said in a statement. "Staying aware while driving or riding, obeying speed limits and being responsible will help keep fatalities and injuries as low as possible."
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds operators of motor vehicles that they should watch for motorcycles.
Because many two-wheeled vehicles may be difficult to see, drivers should be extra cautious when checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections. Motorcycles should be respected with the same rights as any vehicle on the roadway, PennDOT said.
Drivers should leave extra space — at least four seconds when following a motorcycle. In addition, motorcycle drivers need a full lane width to maneuver safety in all types of roads and conditions. Lastly, drivers should always signal their intentions during vehicle operation and never drive impaired.
Motorcyclists also have a set of safety measures they should use while driving. PennDOT recommends:
• Be seen by wearing reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective clothing and motorcycle. Also, wear face or eye protection and a DOT-approved helmet.
• Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to potentially dangerous situations.
• Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
• Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions.
"Sharing the road safely, staying aware while driving or riding, obeying speed limits and being responsible can help keep motorcycle fatalities and injuries low," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards in a statement. "Taking a training course under the watchful eye of a trained instructor also goes a long way in reducing the likelihood of a crash."