Summer Safety Series #7
Motorcycle Accidents Involving Our Two Wheeled Friends
You’ve heard the phrase “Share the Road”. In short, it means that anything with wheels has the right to be on the road. And that means that drivers of all types of vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorcycles, should always be respectful and conscious of each other.
Motorcycles are often not as noticeable as larger vehicles, which places them in a vulnerable position. Factor in how exposed the motorcycle rider is and it’s easy to see why the U. S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that motorcyclists are 25 times more likely to die on the road than those in passenger cars.
The CDC (www.cdc.gov/features/motorcyclesafety) reports that motorcycle-related deaths are on the rise. In fact, they’ve increased by 55% since the year 2000. In 2010 alone, over 4,500 people were killed in motorcycle crashes. These statistics carry a high price tag. In one year, medical care costs and loss of productivity totaled more than $12 billion dollars. Because motorcycles are fun and exciting vehicles to ride, we thought it was important to pass along statistics and some safety tips as a mini-refresher on road safety.
Motorcyclists need to know how to safely operate their bikes. It’s also critically important that the motorcyclist continually scan their surroundings. The Motorcyclist Safety Foundation offers safe-driving courses and safety tips (www.motorcycleaccident.org) and recommends the following six tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents:
- Take a motorcycle safety course
- Constantly observe your surroundings
- Hand positions matter (always have your hands in a position to be ready to apply brakes)
- Position on the road matters (closer to the side of the road is preferable)
- Practice braking
- Wear proper protective gear
In addition to those tips, we found some other important ones to follow:
- Position yourself on the road where you can be seen. Don’t ride behind trucks or large vehicles where you could easily become invisible to everyone around you.
- Check your tires – both for ample pressure and wear. The tires may well be the most important part of the motorcycle.
- Always use your signals when making turns
- Always keep your headlight on when driving
- If traveling in a group of motorcycles, ride in single file around corners
- Wear helmets that have the DOT sticker as they will be up to code
- Wear eye protection
- Keep a small tool kit with you
- When driving in traffic at speeds under 40mph, keep a 2-second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Keep a 3 or 4 second gap between you and the vehicle in front of you when driving at higher speeds.
Motorcycles and summer weather are a delightful match. Keep your summer safe. Follow these simple rules while on a motorcycle. And, for everyone else in other types of vehicles, keep on the lookout for motorcycles and share the road with them.
This wraps up our final installment in our “Summer Safety” series. We hope you have found these tips useful and may save a life someday.
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View the entire Summer Safety Series