May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the bikes are coming out of storage. Spring is here! If you’re a rider, it’s an exciting time of year, a time to get back to doing what you love. If you’re a motorist, it’s a time to expect more motorcycles on the road. And it’s always a good time, for any one of us, to recall that motorcyclists are overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes. National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month aims to remind drivers of all types of vehicles to share the road, be alert, and be safe.
There are things both motorists and motorcyclists alike can do to keep each other safe, and it starts with awareness both on and off the road. There are less motorcycles on the road than cars. For this reason, and others, car drivers are less likely to anticipate motorcycles and their movements. Even though motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles, they accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. This is obviously a huge issue and we can all do more to change it.
Tips For Motorcyclists
- Wear a DOT-certified helmet. While not all states have helmet laws, the NHTSA recommends wearing a helmet for every ride. They provide several useful resources for finding the perfect helmet. Never buy a used helmet.
- Take a safety course. No one should drive a motorcycle near other vehicles without knowing the ins and outs of riding. Find a course near you.
- Make sure your bike is road ready. Keep all licensure up-to-date and check your bike over before you hit the pavement. Brakes, tire pressure & depth, headlights, signals, and fluids should all be good before you press the pedal.
- Be courteous. Don’t weave in and out of traffic and don’t speed. The rules of the road are the same for every vehicle.
- Assume you are invisible & make yourself seen. Use your headlights night and day. Wear bright, reflective clothing and drive in a defensive position.
- Never drink and drive. In 2019, motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than drivers of any other vehicle type.
Tips For Motorists
- Think about motorcycles. Seriously, it can be as simple as heightening your awareness by reminding yourself that you will see a motorcycle on your drive. According to the NHTSA, “many drivers do not anticipate routine encounters with motorcyclists in traffic.”
- Share the road. Don’t ride a motorcycle closely and NEVER try to share lanes with one. Allow for more distance between your vehicles. Motorcyclists sometimes downshift instead of braking to slow down – so their brake light won’t illuminate. Give them ample space.
- Objects are probably closer than they appear. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation advises to “predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks” when approaching an intersection.
- Be understanding. When motorcyclists change position, it’s typically to avoid debris on the road or other hazards. Be mindful that these things can happen, and be ready to act accordingly.
- Don’t be a distracted driver. You know what’s right and what’s wrong when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle. For more tips on how to be a safe driver, check out our blog post on distracted driving.
Reach Out To A Motorcycle Accident Attorney For Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please do not hesitate to contact a Kansas City Auto Accident Lawyer at Smith Mohlman for answers to your questions or to get started with filing a claim. You may be entitled to compensation for lost work, medical bills, and other damages. Call (816) 866-7711 or fill out our convenient online contact form for a free initial consultation. Our team of experienced legal professionals is here to assist you during this difficult time.