Traffic crashes involving motorcycles are on the rise across the country. According to the most recent annual data, more than 5,500 motorcyclists were killed, representing 14% of total traffic fatalities. This is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started collecting the data in 1975.
WHY IT MATTERS
Research shows motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities each year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and 4 times more likely to be injured.
Motorcycle riding is a popular form of recreation and transportation for millions of Americans. Follow these reminders to improve your awareness of motorcycles.
- Always practice extra caution when turning left. In fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another passenger vehicle, many of these crashes involved the passenger vehicle turning left into a motorcyclist who was riding straight or passing. Making a left turn is exceedingly more dangerous than making a right turn—take a few extra moments to ensure the crossing path is clear.
- Allow more distance when following a motorcycle. Aim for three or four seconds. This gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust their lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
- Slow down at intersections. If you’re turning at an intersection and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.), and then proceed with caution.
- Share the road, but not the lane! Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. A motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—it may not be self-canceling, and the motorcyclist may not realize it didn’t turn off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
Not all drivers are motorcycle enthusiasts, but all drivers share a common goal: the desire to make it safely to their destination.To help improve awareness of motorcycles, please take a few moments and share these simple safety reminders with family and friends.