The temps are warming up and motorcycle season is upon us. In face, May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. With riders in many parts of the country being able to ride again after months of storing their bikes, motorists should be anticipating more motorcycle traffic and are reminded to share the road to keep everyone safe. Motorcyclists have all the same privileges and rights as any other motor vehicle on the road.
Because motorcycles are harder to see, it is crucial for motorists to check their blind spots and use their blinkers to signal turns and lane changes. Never tailgate a motorcycle. A motorcycle will be able to stop much more quickly than your automobile, and rear-ending a motorcyclist could cause a deadly collision.
One of the top awareness issues for 2015 was distracted driving. Distracted driving continues to plague our roadways, taking a huge toll both in terms of human life and property damage. Avoid any distractions in the vehicle that would cause you to miss important driving clues.
Similarly, bikers are reminded to do their part by riding safely and increasing their visibility. The number one way to stay safe is by wearing a properly fitting DOT-approved helmet. Head injuries are a common injury among bikers. Helmet use has been shown to reduce motorcycle deaths by about 37 percent and be 67 percent effective in averting brain injuries.
Riders can make themselves more visible by donning brightly colored clothing and using reflective tape both on the bike and themselves. Also, riders should avoid riding in the blind spots of vehicles.
The Hurt Study determined that 92% of riders involved in accidents were either taught to ride by family or friends, or were self-taught. Additionally, the study showed that more than 50 percent of the motorcyclists involved in collisions had less than five months of riding experience. Even for experienced riders, taking a refresher course is always a good idea. These classes can offer riders new techniques or opportunities to develop their skills further.
Speeding is another common factor in motorcycle accidents. Excessive speed displaces the alignment of a motorcycle, causing the front end to be less steady. When this happens, it becomes easier for the rider to lose control and potentially collide with a stationary object or another vehicle.
Remember, motorcycles are less visible than automobiles and many times more vulnerable. When motorcycle crashes occur, riders are more likely to be injured or killed than the occupants of vehicles. And in a collision between a motorcycle and an automobile, the automobile will almost always fare better. In fact, per miles traveled in 2013, motorcyclist fatalities were 26 times higher than motorist fatalities.
Under no circumstances is it ever safe to mix driving or riding with alcohol or drugs.
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