In recognition of National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, the National Safety Council reminds riders – and drivers – to do their part.
Although motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only .7% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities and 4% of all occupant injuries in 2014, according to Injury Facts® 2017.
Nearly one-third of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2014 were alcohol-impaired, and in 2015, speeding was a factor in more than 30% of motorcycle crashes.
“When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way,” according to an issue statement from NHTSA. “There is a continuing need to help other motorists ‘think’ motorcycles and to educate motorcyclists to be aware of this problem.”
The vast majority of vehicles on the road are not motorcycles. They’re cars and vans and trucks. It’s quite possible that as a driver you rarely think about motorcycles. This is a problem!
Skill and Gear Can Protect You! A helmet is the most important equipment a biker can use. In 2015, 1,922 motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. Helmets are estimated to have saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015, according to Injury Facts® 2017. An additional 740 lives could have been saved that year if all had worn helmets. A full-coverage helmet offers the most protection Not every state has a helmet law, but even if yours doesn’t, wear one anyway. A motorcycle crash is a “violent event.” More than 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, according to NHTSA. When buying a helmet, look for the DOT sticker, which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law.
- Motorcycles are relatively small and drivers don’t see them
- Drivers don’t anticipate motorcycles’ movements
- The driver’s view of the motorcyclist is obstructed, often by the vehicle’s blind spots or other vehicles
- The driver is distracted