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Motorcycles – Easy Riding

Motorcycle - Easy RidingMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Launched by and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this year’s theme is Get up to Speed on Motorcycles. The goal is to reduce motorcycle collisions and help save lives. The campaign is helping motorists understand standard motorcycle driving behaviors and teaching them how to drive safety around motorcycles.

People ride motorcycles for a variety of reasons – for its fuel efficiency, eco-friendly, affordability, camaraderie and even adventure.

As of 2017, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that there are more than 8.4 million on-road registered motorcycles in the United States. Florida (595,946) and California (955,293) have the highest number of registered motorcycles in the country.

The Motely Fool’s research shows that the demographics for riders is changing. More women are becoming motorcycle owners. The market is graying with a typical motorcycle owner being age 47. More married couples are becoming riders and those with higher educations and incomes are becoming motorcycle owners.

According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists accounted for nearly 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015, while motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. There were 4,976 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes.

The National Safety Council reports that drivers often violate a motorcyclist right of way because:

  • Drivers do not see them due to the size of the motorcycle (smaller).
  • Drivers do not anticipate motorcycles’ movements.
  • Drivers view are obstructed, and the motorcyclist is in a blind spot or behind a vehicle.
  • Drivers are distracted – on phone, texting, eating, changing music, etc.

Did you know that when a motorcyclist weaves left to right within a lane of traffic that it is a safe and legitimate behavior? They do this so they can be seen by other motorists.

Here are some important safety tips for vehicle drivers:

  • Assess and constantly be aware of your surroundings while driving. Slow down and give your self time when approaching intersections, pulling into or out of parking lots and driveways.
  • Be extra vigilant any time you are turning left. Be safe and look again before making that turn.
  • Leave plenty of space between you and a motorcyclist to avoid a collision. Many drivers do not realize that a motorcyclist’s brake lights may not always engage when a motorcycle decelerates.
  • Watch for blinds spots. Did you know that cars have almost 40 blind spots? Always double-check your blind spots before changing lanes or entering the roadway. Make sure your rear and side-view mirrors are adjusted properly.

Misunderstanding, misjudging or overlooking a motorcycle can lead to a crash and cost someone a life.