According to the Detroit News, “Motorcycle deaths have more than doubled nationally from 1997 to 2011, from 2,116 top 4,612, while overall traffic fatalities fell in the same period by 23 percent from 42,013 to 32,367.”
Although some motorcycle accidents can’t be prevented, many can and thousands of lives can be saved. Recently, state and local government officials from around the nation have banded together to declare May as Motorcycle Awareness month.
As a rider myself, Motorcycle Awareness Month holds a special place in my heart. Throughout the month of May, I’ll be sharing with you some simple safety tips to help keep both drivers and riders safe on the road this year.
Today, we’re going to go over some simple tips to keep in mind on the road for both motorcyclists and motorists.
Safety Tips for Drivers
Most riders, myself included, have had a few close calls on the road. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault.”
Follow these simple tips to prevent a close call from turning in to a potentially fatal accident:
- Look twice for motorcyclists – especially in your blind spots.
- Avoid distractions, like cell phones, when driving.
- Pay attention to what’s going on outside your car.
- Pull out of driveways slowly.
- Avoid tailgating motorcycles.
- Have a 3–4 second gap between your car and the motorcycle.
- Use your turn signals.
Check out some of these other videos from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to learn more driving safety tips.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Whether you have years of experience or just want to get started, taking a motorcycle safety class can teach you the skills you need or knock the rust off the ones you have. The state of New Jersey reports that nearly 9 out of 10 riders involved with accidents have had no training.
As a bonus, most insurance companies will also give you a discount on your motorcycle insurance if you take a class every couple of years.
After you pass your class with flying colors, keep these tips in mind:
- Always do a quick inspection of your motorcycle before leaving.
- Wear proper safety gear when riding, including a helmet.
- Follow the speed limit and abide traffic signals and signs.
- Use turn or hand signals when changing lanes.
- Tap breaks when letting off the throttle to slow down.
- Ride defensively and anticipate what nearby drivers may do.
- Pay attention to what’s going on around you – particularly in heavy traffic.
The most important lesson both motorists and motorcyclists can take away though is to take your time getting to your destinations. It’s not worth risking your life, your loved one’s life or anyone else’s life to get to where you need to go. It’s better to arrive a little late and safely rather than…well, the alternative.
Look for more motorcycle safety posts throughout the month of May. Ride and drive safe out there!
Do we have any motorcyclists out there? Share your safety tips with other riders in the comments section below!