OWENSBORO, Ky. (5/3/13) – In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in reminding motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” conscientiously and courteously to help prevent motorcycle crashes, which remain one of the most prevalent causes of death and injury on Kentucky roadways.
In addition to stressing the mutual responsibilities shared by all users of the road, the campaign will include increased enforcement by local police throughout May to make sure motorcyclists, and drivers of all vehicles, are obeying state and local laws.
“Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike,” KOHS Director Bill Bell said. “Motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants, so whether you are driving the family sedan, an SUV, a school bus, a delivery van or an 18-wheeler, drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists. Drivers must be aware that a motorcycle, as one of the smallest vehicles on the road, can be ‘hiding’ in your vehicle’s blind spots. Always check blind spots, use mirrors and signal before changing lanes or making turns.”
“Motorcyclists have responsibilities too,” Bell said. “Riders should obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed, alert to other drivers, conspicuous at all times, never ride impaired or distracted, and always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear.”
This safety advice is particularly timely as motorcycle fatalities nationwide in 2011 showed a continued increase to 4,612. Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14 percent of total highway deaths for the year despite motorcycle registrations representing only about 3 percent of vehicles in the nation.
The KOHS offers the following tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
•A motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle. The person under that helmet could be a mother, brother, doctor or friend;
•Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width – never try to share a lane;
•Perform a regular visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections;
•Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
•Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo¬torcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed;
•Allow more following distance – three or four sec¬onds – when behind a motorcycle to give the motorcyclist time to maneuver around obstacles in the roadway, or stop in an emer¬gency;
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
•Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet;
•Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
•Signaling intentions by combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
•Wearing brightly colored protective gear, and using reflective tape and stickers to increase visibility;
•Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
•Never riding while impaired.
Information provided by Keith Todd
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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