May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness of motorcycle safety and the significance of sharing the road with motorcyclists. As the weather warms up and daylight hours get longer, more riders take to the streets. However, this also increases the risk of motorcycle accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,932 motorcyclists lost their lives in traffic crashes in the United States in 2021; 42% of those were caused by motorists turning left into the path of motorcyclists. NHTSA data shows that this is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since at least 1975.
Motorcycle Awareness Month allows everyone to learn more about safety and how to share the road with not only motorcyclists but also bicyclists and pedestrians. As summer approaches and children are released from school for the summer, everyone must take more responsibility for sharing the road.
- Distractions. Texting, eating, and focusing on passengers inside the vehicle take the driver’s attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Blind Spots. Motorcycles and bicycles are smaller and may be easily hidden from view. Therefore, it is crucial to check blind spots before changing lanes or making a turn.
- Maintaining a safe following distance: Motorcycles and bicycles can stop more quickly than cars, so it is important to leave ample space between the vehicle and the motorcycle or bicycle in front.
- Using turn signals: Letting others know your intentions can prevent accidents and keep everyone safe.
- Being aware of weather conditions: Michigan’s unofficial slogan is “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Therefore, it is important to give motorcyclists extra space and be mindful of their movements when the weather turns to rain, wind, or other conditions.
- Look Twice Save A Life: Before making lane changes, turning into parking lots, merging onto roadways, or backing out of your driveway, look twice and truly focus on looking for motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Inattentional blindness is the psychological phenomenon that causes you to miss things right in front of your eyes. You may see the oncoming vehicle but not the motorcycle directly in front of them because your focus is on the vehicle and judging the distance between you.
Motorcycle Awareness Month serves as a reminder to share the road and prioritize safety. By following these tips and being conscious of the surroundings, everyone can help prevent accidents and make the road a safer place for motorcyclists and others alike.