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Safe Driving Tips for Motorists and Motorcyclists

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 such fatalities.

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.