Federal studies reveal that more people are dying in motorcycle accidents than in years past — in fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics of highway accident deaths show that 15% of U.S. traffic fatalities in 2012 involved motorcyclists while a mere 3% of vehicle registrations in the United States are for motorcycles.
According to NHTSA, the risk of motorcyclists dying in a traffic accident is 26 TIMES HIGHER than someone who is involved in an accident and riding in a car.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Accordingly, May 2014 has been heralded across the country as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The intent is not only to educate motorcyclists on staying safe on the roads, but also to increase public awareness of the need to respect motorcycles on the roads shared with drivers of cars, minivans, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.
“Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect month for Motorcycle Safety Awareness,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise. We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives and make sure we all ‘Share the Road’. ”
Indiana saw 151 Motorcycle Fatalities in 2012
The Indiana State Police report that Indiana suffered 151 motorcycle fatalities in 2012 and that 122 of those accidents involved motorcyclists who had chosen not to wear a helmet.
Indiana troopers are particularly concerned that Hoosiers are aware of the specific dangers that road construction and uneven road surfaces can be for motorcyclists. This summer, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) warns that there will be lots of road construction and road repair in Indiana, and “edge traps” will be a big danger here in Indiana while this road work is happening. “Edge traps” involve uneven lanes on a road that is undergoing repair, and even a small discrepancy in the level of a driving surface can be extremely dangerous for someone driving along that surface on a motorcycle. It is very easy to lose control and crash a bike when a motorcycle gets caught in an edge trap.
Troopers offer the following safety tips for motorcyclists:
- Wear a DOT approved helmet and riding safety gear.
- Don’t consume alcohol while riding. During 2012, 36 motorcycle fatalities occurred in Indiana involving alcohol.
- Be visible. Ensure your headlight, taillight and brake light work properly.
- Wear high visibility clothing.
- Use lane positioning to increase visibility and watch for turning vehicles.
- Avoid riding in blind spots.
Here are a list of motorcyclist safety tips from NHTSA for those who share the roads with motorcycle riders:
- Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
- Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.