Look Twice, Save a Life – May is Motorcycle Awareness Month
As the warmer weather approaches, motorcycles are beginning to get back on the roads. While riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating feeling, there are many risks associated with it.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders continue to be overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes. In 2018, there were 4,985 motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. Additionally, when looking at the accident rates per vehicle miles traveled, the NHTSA estimates that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than car motorists to be involved in a fatal accident and are also 5 times more likely to be injured.
Now more than ever in this time of smart phones and distractions, it is important to remain vigilant on the road and be aware of the drivers around us, cars and motorcycles alike. Here are some tips for both car motorists and motorcycle riders to follow in order to help minimize accidents on the road:
• Never drive while distracted! Doing so can result in tragedy for you and for others, including motorcyclists. Put away your smartphone and focus on the road.
• Don’t tailgate and remember to slow down when you’re behind a motorcycle. Bikers can be more sensitive to changes on the road and cannot handle road debris, such as a shredded tire, the same as
a car or SUV. Give yourself room to have the time and space to react to a motorcyclist making a quick unexpected stop or turn.
• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging, especially at intersections. Motorcycles are smaller, making it easy to misjudge their speed and distance.
• If you see one motorcycle on the road, watch for others. Bikers tend to ride in groups, and you may not see the entire group at once.
• Dim your headlights when on the road at night. Using your high beams or brights at night can be blinding, and these lights are especially hazardous for motorcyclists.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic so others know your intentions.
• Always wear a helmet and protective gear. A DOT-compliant helmet is your safest option.
• Carry your license with you at all times and obey all traffic laws.
• Refrain from riding the lines of a lane. Stay in the middle of the lane so others can see you more clearly.
• Seasonal riders – before you get back on the road after a long season, take some time to familiarize yourself with your motorcycle again. Take your first ride in a neighborhood, an empty
parking lot, or down a quiet country road to avoid highways and busy city streets.
• Exercise increased caution when on the road. Try to anticipate the moves of other vehicles around you.
• Avoid riding when the weather is inclement.
• Do not make risky moves. Avoid speeding, weaving between cars or passing in the breakdown lanes.
• Never ride when you’re impaired, intoxicated or distracted.
For Motorcyclists Carrying a Passenger
• Have them mount the motorcycle AFTER the engine has started.
• Sit as far forward as possible with your passenger directly behind you.
• Passenger should keep both feet on the footrests at all times.
• Remind the passenger to keep their legs and/or feet away from the muffler.
• Ask the passenger to hold onto the driver’s waist, hips, or supports.
• Keep movement to a minimum.
• Passengers should lean-in at the same time and same direction as the driver.
• The passenger should only dismount when the motorcycle comes to a complete stop.
Awareness is needed from both drivers and riders to help make roads safe for motorcycles, not only during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month but year-round.
We hope these tips help keep you, your family, and others safe on the road this spring. We know the roads you drive because we drive them too. Our agents understand your situation and concerns and are here to help you today! To learn more about your current auto, motorcycle, or home policy options, contact your local Bearingstar agent for a complementary policy review.