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6 Tips for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 15, 2012
To call attention to the dangers and vulnerabilities motorcyclists face on the road, May is designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The National Safety Council (NSC) offers six tips to help drivers and motorcyclists alike stay safe on the roads this May and all year long.

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to crashes than other drivers. In 2007, the mileage death rate for motorcyclists in 2007 was 37 times greater than for passenger car occupants. Motorcycle safety also is an issue of increasing concern – fatalities involving drivers and motorcyclists increased 131 percent between 1998 and 2008, according to NSC.

Throughout Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, NSC encourages motorists to share the road with motorcyclists and be extra alert when they are nearby. NSC's tips include:

1. Passenger car drivers must allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle.
2. Drivers also must show extra caution in intersections. Most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of a motorcycle.
3. Drivers should never try to share a lane with a motorcycle. Always give a motorcycle the full lane width.
4. Motorcyclists should avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
5. Motorcyclists should position their motorcycles to avoid a driver's blind spot.
6. Motorcyclists must use turn signals for every turn or lane change.

Many crashes occur because motorcycles are hidden in a vehicle's blind spot. Drivers should always make a visual check for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic, NSC explained.

"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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