In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, motorists and motorcyclists alike are encouraged to “share the road” in order to reduce motorcyclist deaths and injuries.
Motorcycles are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles on the road, putting riders at greater risk of death and serious injury in a crash. In fact, the latest statistics from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration display this tragedy in stark numbers: Up until 2014, motorcycle deaths increased every year for over 17 years, except in 2009, which saw a decline. In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists died on America’s roads, a decrease of 2.3 percent from 2013 (4,692). That’s 4,586 too many deaths that we can help prevent. Williams County has had 3 fatal motorcycle related crashes and 62 reported rider injuries from 2011 to 2015.
A key way we can reduce traffic fatalities and keep our roads safe is for drivers to understand motorcycle safety challenges such as size and visibility, and riding practices like downshifting and weaving to be able to anticipate and respond to motorcyclist behavior.
In addition, by practicing the following habits, drivers and riders can improve highway safety for everyone:
•Be on the lookout for motorcyclists at all times;
•Know the location of your vehicle’s blind spots;
•Signal all lane changes and turns, and constantly check mirrors and blind spots before proceeding;
•Be fully focused on the task of driving and in control of their vehicles;
•Never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.
•Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
•Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible; NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,699 motorcyclists in 2012; and
•Never ride while impaired or distracted.
Please join in reaching out to drivers and motorcyclists this month to encourage safe driving every day of the year. Additional information can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.