It’s the time of year that the nearly eight and a half million motorcycle owners in the United States have been waiting all winter for. Chaps, boots and helmets have emerged from basements and garages of bike enthusiast from coast to coast to get as many rides in throughout the summer as possible. For those traveling on four wheels, an extra effort of diligence is required to keep everyone safe. Whereas motorcycles only account for 3% of all vehicles owned in our country, motorcyclists are 6 times more likely to be killed in an accident than people in passenger vehicles. The shocking statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the most recent motorcycle safety report from 2015 remind us all that watching for motorcycles could mean the difference of life and death.
Eight percent more motorcyclists were killed in 2015 numbering 4,976 compared to 4,594 in 2014.
- 93% of fatalities involved two-wheeled motorcycles
- Of all vehicle fatalities in 2015, 14% were motorcyclists
- 94% were riders and 6%, passengers
- 55% were in urban areas, 45% in rural areas
- 90% were on non-interstate roads
The following are some great tips you can use to help prevent these types of accidents.
- Use your turn signal far ahead of the turn. Motorcyclists need that extra time to prepare to slow down.
- Stay further back when behind a motorcycle. Try to find a following distance that allows you plenty of room to react and at the same time doesn’t invite the driver that will dive in front of you far too close to the back of the motorcycle.
- Be extra watchful at night and during inclement weather. Motorcycles can be harder to see and the driver might have a difficult time controlling the bike in a fast reaction situation.
- Double check blind spots, especially when making a left turn and backing up.
- Don’t drive in the same lane as a motorcycle. This seems like common sense but we’ve all seen it happen.
- PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN! In our last blog, we discussed the dangers of driving while distracted by technology. Any distraction is even more dangerous for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles on the road.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), 1,815 motorcyclists lives were saved by helmets. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 37%. If you own a motorcycle you know why it’s commonly called a “brain bucket”. Missouri has had a helmet law since 1967, however a current Senate Bill would remove the requirement to wear a helmet for motorcyclists over 18 years old with specific insurance coverage. Kansas and Oklahoma do not require helmets for adults over 18 while Arkansas does not require them for adults over 21. Wherever you might stand as a motorcycle owner on this issue, wearing your helmet does reduce risk.
So now that we have all that out of the way- get out there and enjoy the ride no matter how many wheels you may travel on! And…just like the signs relay: Watch For Motorcycles.
Blog by: Allison Green