It is unfortunately the gross disproportion of the amount of motorcyclists involved in traffic crashes and losing their lives. As states motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in an a crash and five times more likely to be injured. It is important that vehicle drivers remain aware of their surroundings and always pay complete attention. Even the smallest momentary lapse in attention can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist.
“We want to spread the word to vehicle drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists and to always remember to Share the Road,” said DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore. “It is very easy to overlook a motorcycle due to their smaller size. For this reason, it is vital that we put forth extra effort in keeping watch.”
Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles, an awareness building campaign developed by The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), brings drivers up to speed on common motorcyclist riding behaviors and highlights simple things drivers can do to increase the safety of their two-wheeled friends. The goal of this material is to create safer roads and save lives. GSMP social media sites will be featuring this messaging during the month of May and is available on the DDS Facebook site.
“The best way to celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is to always wear a helmet and to support all-rider helmet laws to ensure fellow riders do the same,” said Commissioner Moore. “Wearing a helmet is imperative to the safety of our riders. Just like motorists buckling their seat belts, using a helmet can drastically increase survival rates in the event of a vehicle crash. NHTSA data estimates that helmets saved 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives in 2016, and that 809 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn their helmets.”
Motorcycle riders who are involved in a car accident could be hurt as a result of the impact from the crash, as a result of flying debris or by being thrown from their bike. Some of the most common injuries that a motorcycle rider is likely to suffer in an accident include:
These and other injuries often result in significant pain and suffering, and require expensive medical care. Unfortunately, many injuries never heal and these victims have to cope with the medical impairments for the rest of their lives.
A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 14 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
WEAR THE PROPER PROTECTION
If you’re ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet. Always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Snell and ANSI labels located inside the helmet also show that the helmet meets the standards of those private, non-profit organizations. Learn more about choosing the right helmet.
Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers.
Experienced riders know local traffic laws – and they don’t take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Remember to ride defensively. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. Proceed cautiously at intersections and yield to pedestrians and other vehicles as appropriate. You can increase your visibility by applying reflective materials to your motorcycle and by keeping your motorcycle’s headlights on at all times, even using high beams during the day.
BE ALCOHOL AND DRUG FREE
Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed medications, negatively affect your judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. These substances also impair your alertness and reduce your reaction time. Even when you’re fully alert, it’s impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to do. Therefore, make sure you are alcohol and drug free when you get on your motorcycle. Otherwise, you’ll be heading for trouble.