As many are aware, May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. A month dedicated to reminding motorists to watch for motorcycles and help keep them safe. Every year, campaigns encouraging drivers to “share the road” are posted on signs and on the internet to welcome motorcyclists back on the roads after the long winter restraint. Riders are eager to hop on the saddle to head out on the highway and on too many occasions, drivers are unaware.
Motorcycle safety is a growing concern and using this month as a time to increase awareness is growing even more in importance. Why?
- There are more motorcycles on the road. According to the motorcycle Motorcycle Industry Council, there are over 27 million motorcycle operators in the US with a 67 percent increase in women riders alone between 2003 and 2009. More motorcycles on the road = more accidents and, unfortunately, higher chances of motorcycle fatalities.
- Helmet laws are dwindling. In the 1970s, there were 47 states requiring all motorcycle operators to wear helmets compared to just 19 states today. Motorcycle deaths rose 9 percent in 2012, with the blame pinned on repealed helmet laws. A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than one who wears a helmet (U.S. Department of Transportation).
- We are victims of a technology age. Not only our kids, but our siblings, teachers, parents, and grandparents are all consumed with social media and which device they should use to check it. Drivers, and even riders, are distracted by what’s happening somewhere else, not what’s around them. Time Magazine calls the Millennial Generation (born between 1980-200) lazy, entitled narcissists “adapting quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change.” While that may lead to brighter futures for our children, it does little, if not make it worse, to ensure there are safe drivers on the road.