Across the country, May has been designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month as a way to encourage motorists to “share the road” with bikers. According to Governors Highway Safety Association, while motorcycles only account for 3% of vehicles on the road, they make up 14% of all motor-vehicle fatalities. Even though motorcycle fatalities are decreasing, it is important to continue promoting motorcycle safety and awareness. Here’s how motorists can help:
- Give bikers space. Share the road but do not attempt to share the same lane. Allow a full lane width for bikers to safely maneuver the roads. Also be sure to have enough following distance in case the rider suddenly brakes, changes speed or attempts to avoid hazards such as potholes or railroad crossings.
- Check twice. Before switching lanes, be sure to use side and rear-view mirrors. Check your shoulders for riders that may be in your blind spots. If you’re at an obstructed intersection where you do not have a clear view, wait until you can see that it is safe to drive again.
- Avoid distraction. Research has shown that drivers behind the wheel are distracted 50% of the time. Avoid texting, eating or any other activities that remove your hands from the steering wheel and eyes from the road.
Here’s how riders can help:
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet for safety.
- Do not ride while impaired. Alcohol accounts for nearly one-third of motorcycle fatalities in the United States.
- Make yourself visible. Use signal lights and ride in a position where you are most visible to drivers.
For more motorcycle safety tips and statistics, check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s website.
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