Motorcycle Awareness Month is not only for motorcyclists, but also for drivers of all other vehicles. Bill Bell, Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), said that safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike. It takes two to tango. That’s why the month of May is about sharing the road with motorcyclists and keeping them safe.
Based on the reports of the Kentucky State Police, 8% of vehicles involved in the state’s fatal collisions in 2010 and 2011 were motorcycles. Unfortunately, this percentage increased to 9% in 2012. Also, about half of all motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle. Of those accidents, almost 40% were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist.
Tips for both drivers and motorcyclists
As mentioned in a previous post, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants. This is a reminder for all drivers to always be on the lookout for motorcyclists. Here are some tips on how to drive safely around motorcycles:
- Slow down.
- Pay attention and check blind spots, especially before entering or exiting a lane of traffic and at intersections.
- Use your turn signal when changing lanes. In Massachusetts, drivers who fail to use their “blinkers” on a highway are subject to a fine.
- Respect motorcyclists and give them a full lane to travel.
- Increase your driving distance and give motorcyclists plenty of space as traffic and other road conditions may require them to react and maneuver in a different way.
Motorcyclists can also do their part on staying safe on the road by considering the following tips:
- Improve your visibility by wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet. Use of reflective tape and stickers is also recommended.
- Just like motorists, use turn signals when turning or changing a lane. Hand signals should also be used to draw attention.
- Ride smart and sober. Never ride while impaired. Statistics revealed that the percentage of intoxicated motorcyclists in fatal crashes is greater than that of intoxicated drivers on the roads.
- Keep a two to four second following distance. It is important that you give yourself space and time to react, especially for emergency braking.
- Respect other motorists and focus on driving.
Please always be on the lookout for other drivers and riders. No one wants to be in an accident. If we apply these tips, we can definitely prevent motorcycle accidents.