Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is encouraging motorists and roadway users to “Share the Road.” Motorcyclist fatalities actually increased in 2012. Motorcyclists can protect themselves by wearing safety gear and practicing safe riding habits, but ultimately other drivers on the road have to drive safely too. Motorcyclists don’t have seatbelts, steel cages, and airbags, so they’re truly at the mercy of other motorists.
Motorcycle Safety Facts
• In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes.
• Motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 15 percent of total traffic deaths in 2012.
• In 2010, 4,502 people were killed in motorcycle crashes.
• With the exception of 2009, for the past 15 years, motorcycle fatalities have been increasing.
• In 2011, 81,000 people were injured in motorcycle crashes.
• In 2012, 93,000 motorcyclists were injured in crashes.
Share the Road
The NHTSA is offering drivers a variety of tips for safely sharing the road with motorcyclists. First, drivers should know that riders have the same rights and privileges as other roadway users. Although motorcycles are smaller than traditional passenger vehicles, they still need a full lane width to travel in, and they actually need extra room to maneuver around potential roadway obstacles. Drivers are also encouraged to check their blind spots and always signal their intentions before merging into traffic or changing lanes. Also remember to give at least three to four extra seconds of distance to riders. They need that additional room to maneuver quickly in the event of an emergency or roadway problem. Finally, never drive distracted or impaired. If you’re looking at your phone, you’re not going to see the motorcycle rider next to you, behind you or in front of you.
After a Motorcycle Accident
Victims of motorcycle accidents should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Even riders who wear helmets, protective jackets, gloves and boots can still become devastatingly injured or killed in crashes with passenger occupant vehicles. If drivers aren’t paying attention to the road, riders can get hurt or killed. Unfortunately, it’s common for drivers to report not even having seen motorcycles prior to wrecks. Hopefully, campaigns during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will help to improve safety for riders in California and across the U.S.