May Is Motorcycle Awareness Month

The National Safety Council is promoting May as National Motorcycle Awareness month in an effort to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents and deaths.  According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration  (NHTSA) statistics, the number of motorcycle deaths rose again last year for the tenth consecutive year to 5,154.

The primary focus of Motorcycle Awareness month is to promote sharing the road.  It stresses the importance of motorcycle safety – equipment, clothing and driving skills. It also reminds the drivers of other vehicles that they share the road with motorcycles and that they are often times difficult to see.  Fifty-five percent of all motorcycle deaths involved other types of vehicles.

As we drive, NHTSA wants us all to be aware of the following:

* Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.

* Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem as though 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. Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than vehicles, 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 motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their 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 usually are not 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. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their 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 motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

* Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.

 

* Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem as though 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. Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than vehicles, 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 motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their 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 usually are not 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. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their 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 motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

A good source for information on motorcycle safety, driving courses and proper equipement is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.  According to their website, “the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is the leader in championing the safety of motorcyclists.”



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