May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Throughout May, the National Safety Council will encourage motorists to share the road with motorcyclists and be extra alert when they are nearby.
Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to crashes than other drivers. Many crashes occur because motorcycles are hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. It is important that motorists always make a visual check for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
Fatalities involving motorists and motorcyclists increased 131 percent between 1998 and 2008. The mileage death rate for motorcyclists in 2007 was 37 times greater than for passenger car occupants.
“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.”
NSC offers these tips for motorists and motorcyclists:
•Allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle.
•Be extra cautious in intersections. Most crashes occur when a motorist 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.
•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.