If you ride a motorcycle, you already know how much fun riding can be. You understand the exhilaration of cruising the open road and the challenge of controlling a motorcycle. But motorcycling also can be dangerous. To help reduce collisions and save lives, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds motorcyclists to always observe state laws to keep everyone safe. They also remind motorists to share the road with motorcycles.
The latest data on vehicle miles traveled shows that motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash. Safe riding takes balance, coordination, and good judgment. Motorcyclists continue to be overrepresented in traffic-related fatalities, accounting for 14%, while representing only 3% of the entire registered motor vehicle fleet. In 2018 alone, there were 4,985 motorcyclists killed in crashes nationally.
Motorists should observe motorcycle driving behaviors and understand how to drive safely around motorcycles on our roadways. Motorcyclists need just as much room as a vehicle in a full lane to maneuver safely. Always keep a safe distance between an automobile and a motorcycle.
“Approximately one-half of all motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. Drivers need to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists such as size and visibility,” said Regional Administrator Susan DeCourcy. “By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.”
NHTSA also encourages motorcyclists to obey traffic lights, signs, signals, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. And as always, drive sober.
Know your state’s motorcycle helmet laws. Only about half the states currently require helmets for all motorcyclists. Most other states require helmets for certain riders, and a few have no helmet laws. Helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017, and 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets. Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear proper DOT-compliant helmets to mitigate the risk of serious injury or fatality.
In short, the NHTSA states that motorcyclists and motorists need to work together to save lives. For more information about motorcycle safety, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/