As the weather warms, more and more drivers are beginning to dust off their motorcycles and hit the road. To prepare for this transition, the month of May has been proclaimed Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This national initiative encourages motorcyclists and the rest of the motoring public to safely share the road.
The initiative focuses on educating motorcyclists on taking responsibility for their own safety and being as visible as possible to other motorists. This includes always wearing a DOT-compliant helmet, using reflective tape, stickers and gear, combining hand and turn signals and taking rider training classes.
According to the NHTSA, this initiative has become increasingly important as motorcycle deaths are rising. The responsibility to decrease motorcyclist fatalities is shared by all of the motoring public—50 percent of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with another type vehicle. In these two-vehicle crashes, 78 percent of the motorcycles were struck in the front, while only 5 percent were struck in the rear.
“We find the figures surrounding motorcycle-related accidents and fatalities to be very alarming,” said Ruan Vice President of Safety Lisa Gonnerman. “Ruan has a defining culture of putting safety first in all that we do. We want to encourage all of the motoring public to participate in Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to make the roads as safe as possible for everyone.”
Here are some tips from Ruan and the NHTSA on how to safely share the road with motorcyclists:
Due to their small size, motorcycles can be difficult to see and therefore harder to judge their speed and distance. Expand your view to increase your visibility and gather more information about surrounding traffic.
Always use your signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist adequate time to anticipate the flow of traffic and find a safe lane position.
Motorcyclists are often hidden in your blind spot and can be easily missed during a quick look. Always perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic and at intersections.
Road conditions that are minor annoyances to the general motoring public can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Keep this in mind when encountering road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings and grooved pavement.
Increase your following distance when following a motorcycle to give the motorcyclist enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Check out Ruan’s Megasafe7 Rules of Safe Driving for even more ways to stay safe on the road!