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Motorcycle Safety

By Aline Miranda on June 3, 2011

Crash-related motorcyclist injuries and fatalities decreased during 2009. But despite this great news, 4,462 motorcyclists were killed and an additional 90,000 motorcyclists were injured during 2009.

Summer means motorcycle season, but improved driving habits can further decrease these numbers. Drivers must “share the road” with motorcyclists and be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Motorcyclists must ensure they are visible to drivers, especially in larger vehicles and SUV’s, and always follow the rules of the road. Motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on the road and are easily hidden in a driver’s blind spot. Drivers should always check for motorcyclists before changing lanes, merging with traffic, and at intersections. Bicyclists and pedestrians should get into the habit of scanning for motorcycles who might be hidden by other, larger vehicles.

A motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates motorcyclists are nearly 40 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.

Drivers should remember the following tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:

  • Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle
  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width … never try to share a lane
  • Check for motorcycles in mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections
  • Always signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic
  • Motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling … be sure the motorcycle is turning before you proceed
  • Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle
  • Never tailgate a motorcycle … motorcycles can stop much more quickly than cars

Motorcyclists can be safer by:

  • Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions
  • Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet
  • Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if you think no one will see it
  • Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves
  • Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity
  • Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers
  • Never driving while impaired

2009 should not be the only year when motorcycle injuries and fatalities dropped. Do your part to make motorcycles safer by safely “sharing the road.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call or schedule a free in person consultation to discuss your rights.