2009-06-04 / Local & State

Motorcycle Safety Tips As Riding Season Revs Up

Motorcycle Safety Month is rolling to a stop, but ensuring the safest ride possible is a yearround necessity - and not just for motorcyclists. As more riders take to the roads this summer, motorists need to take extra caution to keep an eye out for their friends on two wheels.

Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle collisions occur with a passenger car and, in a typical motorcycle accident, motorcyclists have less than two seconds to take action to avoid a collision. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the number of motorcycle fatalities rose each year in the decade from 1998 (2,294 deaths) through 2007 (5,154 deaths).

The 2007 national numbers represent a nearly 113 percent jump in fatalities over that 10- year period, and represent the highest fatality total since 1975. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 12.6 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities in 2007, up from 5.5 percent in 1998.

As a motorist or a passenger, the NHTSA reminds us that there are some simple steps motorists can take to become more aware of motorcyclists:

Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway. Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.

Look for the motorcyclist on the highway, at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.

Look out: Remember that bikers are often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. Always check your mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may ignore or not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive actions.

Allow plenty of space

Don't follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.

Return to top