May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and it’s important to keep
in mind that motorcycle safety is something that concerns all drivers,
not just motorcyclists.
In fact, to kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a
Consumer Advisory reminding motorists to “share the road” with motorcyclists.
It’s important for all drivers to remember that motorcycle riders
have the same rights and responsibilities as all other drivers on the road.
According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, motorcycle fatalities
resulting from crashes are on the rise. In 2012, 4927 motorcyclists were
killed in crashes, a number that’s up from 2011, which saw 4,630
In its Consumer Advisory, NHTSA also offers some safe driving tips for
both motorists and motorcyclists. There are many things motorcyclists
can do, such as wear protective gear, including a DOT-compliant helmet,
be properly licensed and obey all traffic rules and regulations, never
drive while distracted or under the influence of alcohol, use hand and
turn signals appropriately and properly, increase their visibility with
brightly colored clothing and reflective tape and by riding in the middle
of the lane, and avoid driving in poor or dangerous weather conditions.
Motorists, too, can also do certain things to help make the roads safer
for their fellow motorcyclists, such as allowing motorcyclists the full
width of a lane at all times, always signaling when changing lanes or
merging with traffic, and checking all mirrors and blind spots before
doing so, particularly at intersections, allowing more distance between
their vehicle and the motorcycle in front of them, never driving while
distracted or impaired and always making sure a motorcycle is actually
turning before proceeding, even if the motorcycle’s turn signal
is on (drivers should keep in mind that motorcycle signals often do not
turn off on their own and may be accidentally left on after a turn is made).
Motorcycle safety isn’t up to just motorcyclists alone. Both motorists
and motorcyclists can work together to make roads safer for motorcycle riders.