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Every May, the NHTSA and state governments come together to coordinate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which strives to spread awareness about motorcycle laws and education designed to keep everyone on the road safe. The number of deaths and injuries caused by accidents involving motorcycles is staggering, and many of these are caused by non-motorcycle users of the road. It’s important to understand safety issues facing motorcycles in traffic, regardless of whether your vehicle has two wheels or more. Below is a list of safety tips you should familiarize yourself with before your next ride:
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet while riding. You are much more likely to experience severe brain damage caused by head trauma in a crash if you are wearing a non-compliant helmet.
- Wear brighter, more reflective gear, especially while traveling at night, and make sure your lights are functioning, bright, and visible (unblocked).
- Lane splitting may help save time and avoid getting rear-ended in heavy traffic, but it can also be very dangerous and illegal. If you’re going to filter forward, make sure it is done safely, with courtesy, and only where it is legal.
For Other Road Users:
- Because motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, they can be more difficult to spot, especially in blind spots. Always check your blind spots & mirrors, use your turn signals, and use extra care when you know motorcycles are nearby.
- Give more following distance to motorcycles. This gives motorcyclists room to perform emergency stops or maneuvers for road hazards like gravel, potholes, standing water, cracks, or train tracks that passenger vehicles can usually continue over at reduced speed.
- Share the road with motorcyclists, but not the lane. Motorcyclists should always get a full lane width, even if it may look like there is room for a car.
- Never operate any vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Leave the phone in your pocket and just focus on the road. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.
- Take time to rest during long trips so you stay alert, awake, and ready for the road ahead.
You can learn more about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month at the NHTSA’s website.