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Motorcyclist riding motorcycle

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 26, 2015

As spring welcomes warmer weather to most of the country, many motorcycles emerge from hibernation and return to the roads. According to the U.S. department of transportation, 62% of motorcyclist fatalities occurred between May and September. That’s why May is a perfect time for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle safety isn’t a one-sided issue. Avoiding auto-accidents is everyone’s responsibility, whether you’re operating a scooter or a big rig.

Tips for motorcycle riders:

  • Take a safety course: Motorcycle safety training courses can give you a great head-start on best practices while on the streets. The Kentucky Motorcycle Program (KMP) offers highly-reputable programs worth exploring.
  • Pretend you’re invisible: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests that you should always assume that others can’t see you, and if they can hit you, they will. Stand out on the road with bright clothing and a permanently-engaged headlight.
  • Wear a helmet and eye protection: According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), helmet-use is the single greatest factor in reducing motorcyclist head and neck injuries. Motorcyclist injury or death occurs in over 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes.
  • Ride sober: The NHTSA also reports that motorcyclists in fatal wrecks are almost three times more likely to have consumed alcohol than other drivers.

Tips for car and truck drivers:

  • Share the road, not the lane: Due to natural obstacles such as road debris, potholes and wind, motorcycles require more lane-position adjustments. Always give them plenty of room and never pull alongside them in a single lane.
  • Avoid tailgating: Motorcycles don’t always slow down the way other vehicles do. They downshift, ease off the throttle and can significantly reduce speed before their brake lights ever trigger. Allow greater following distance and be cautious when approaching intersections.
  • Don’t trust turn signals: Most motorcycle turn signals don’t self-cancel. New riders often forget to turn them off manually.
  • Stay focused: Of course you shouldn’t text, focus on GPS devices or fiddle too much with the radio. You should also make concentrated efforts to look for motorcyclists. When a big truck approaches, the eye naturally scans the height and width of the vehicle, and can easily miss a smaller, thinner object driving in front of it.