Riders and Motorists Can Work Together to Save Lives
Washington, D.C. — In order to reduce motorcycle crashes and save more lives, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) wants to remind all road users that May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018, while motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States.
In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes, which is a 4.7 percent decrease from 2017. The majority of these were not single-vehicle crashes but instead involved other vehicles on the road. More than 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard had this to say, “Motorcyclists must learn through training and experience the best way to stay safe on a motorcycle. Avid motorcyclists are cognizant of the skills required to avoid crashing and will practice and train accordingly. And even though we hone keen awareness skills, riding safe also demands that others we share the road with remain constantly aware of motorcyclists, this is aided by constant messaging by our motorcyclists rights organizations and various governmental and public service agencies. May is traditionally the month many riders are hitting the road after winter and other vehicle drivers must pay attention, hence the importance of May is Motorcycle Awareness month.”
With thousands of deaths each year, motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities.
“Even the smallest momentary lapse in awareness by a motorist can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist. Misunderstanding, misjudging, or overlooking a motorcycle can cost someone their life,” said MRF Director of Motorcycle Safety Jay Jackson. “We hope that shedding light on the issue during the month of May will help both motorists and motorcyclists begin to understand the driving behaviors that can help keep all of us safe.”
On average most motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes collided with another motor vehicle. Because they have a smaller profile and have greater maneuverability than cars and trucks, motorcycles can be difficult to see or spot on the roadway, and motorists have difficulty judging their distance and speed.
Motorists making left turns at intersections are one of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes, due to motorists’ difficulty judging the distance and speed of motorcycles.
A motorcyclist’s “braking” is not always obvious to motorists. Motorcycles decelerate faster than vehicles, so motorcyclists will often downshift instead of applying the brake, especially when driving around a curve. This means the brake lights will not be engaged to signal motorists of deceleration or an upcoming stop.
Drivers — please follow these safety tips to be more aware of motorcycles and to help keep all on our roadways safe:
- Slow down, assess your surroundings, and don’t rush when crossing intersections, entering the road from a parking lot or driveway, or turning left. Always give yourself enough time to thoroughly check for motorcyclists.
- When turning left, ensure there is enough time and space for the motorcyclist to clear the roadway before you initiate the left turn.
- Don’t follow motorcyclists too closely and allow sufficient braking cushion between your vehicle and the motorcycle in front of you to give your vehicle enough room to come to a complete stop without a collision. Remember, a motorcyclist’s brake lights might not always be engaged when a motorcycle decelerates.
- Always double-check your blind spots when changing lanes or starting to enter or exiting the roadways. Adjust your rear- and side-view mirrors and use them properly.
Remember: May is Motorcyclist Safety and Awareness Month – Motorcyclists and Motorists Can Work Together to Save Lives.