Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
Motorcycle Safety Awareness month started from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recognizing that as more people were getting involved in the sport of motorcycling, accidents were also on the increase. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2003 motorcyclist fatalities increased by 10 percent and the majority all car-vs.-motorcycle crashes have been caused by the car driver. The MSF began a program to help riders be seen and recognized by the vehicle driver. They sanctioned May as the official month because that is when the riders emerge from winter hibernation in most states.
Many states have also initiated programs to help promote motorcycle awareness. As the cost of gas continues to rise, the purchase of motorcycles look more and more attractive. We need to educate riders and drives of the benefits of sharing the road.
The whole effort of this program is to help riders be seen. There are a number of things we as riders can do to be seen as well.
1. One easy thing to do is when you are slowing down, instead of merely
downshifting or throttling, tap the brake so that any vehicles behind
you know you are slowing.
2. Wear bright colors that are easily visible to others. Black is cool
looking but isnít always to see when the sun goes down.
3. Be extremely cautious making left-hand turns at intersections.
This is one of the biggest risk factors for riders. If you are
not sure, give the vehicle, the bigger of your rides, the right-of-way.
4. Give yourself plenty of braking distance and donít screech up
to a light or stop sign. This isnít fun for any rider or driver
5. Make sure you are riding so that the vehicle can see you
in their rear view mirrors. Donít ride in their blind spot.
There are things vehicle drivers can do to be aware of riders.
1. Expect that you will see motorcycles, so be on the lookout for them.
2. Donít think of the rider as another vehicle, think of them as a person.
3. Check in your rear view mirror frequently and always, always, turn your
head before making lane changes to check for riders.
4. Slow down at intersections and check for other vehicles and riders.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a Motorcycle Safety Awareness Planner available on-line which provides promotional material to help your organization or community promote Motorcycle Safety Awareness. I have included a link to this site at the bottom of my article.
Until next week, ride safe and be seen.