7 Motorcycle Safety Tips

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designate May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This year’s campaign, Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles, is designed to help motorists understand motorcycle driving behavior and how to safely drive around motorcycles on the roadways. Research indicates that motorists are responsible for more than half of motorcycle-involved collisions. When riders and drivers safely share the road, it saves lives. 

To avoid motorcycle-involved accidents, Traffic Safety Marketing (TSM) offers these tips for drivers:

1. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: a motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.  

2. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.

3. Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.

4. Allow more follow distance when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

Motorcyclists can improve their safety on the road by following this advice:

5. Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,859 motorcyclists in 2016. An additional 802 lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn their helmets.

6. Never ride while impaired or distracted—it’s not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else. Plus, a DUI costs $10,000 on average, and can lead to jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates.

7. Always drive with a current motorcycle license. It’s the law. In 2016, 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.

Find more facts for motorists and motorcyclists here.

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