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May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month

As the weather gets better there will be more motorcycle riders on the road. With the increase of riders, there will be an increase in accidents, and sadly fatalities. But we can all do things and practice motorcycle safety to lower the number of motorcycles-involved collisions.

Take a moment to review these statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission:

  • Motorcycles comprise only 3% of the road users in Washington State but accounted for 15% of all fatalities and 19% of serious injuries in collisions between 2013 and 2017. About 1 in 5 motorcycle collisions result in serious injury or death and on average 75 riders die every year in collisions on Washington roads. These statistics have remained relatively constant for more than a decade.
  • Motorcycle riding is a risky form of transportation, especially when combined with factors such as lack of helmet use, speeding, impairment, and lack of endorsement. Motorcycles, unlike passenger vehicles, offer no protection to the rider in the event of a collision and riders are more susceptible to serious injuries in collisions.

Each year new riders are introduced to the joy of motorcycle riding. They do not have a lot of experience. Some are young, some are old, some are women, some are men, and some could be someone you know.

Motorcycle Awareness applies to both operators of automobiles and motorcycle riders alike. Extra safety precautions must be taken by all who share the road.

Drivers, please consider these precautions when on the road:

  • Please put your phones away while driving. Don’t text and drive.
  • Don’t cut off a motorcycle rider. Doing so can easily cause them to crash.
  • Allow extra following distance to motorcycles. Bumping into the rear end of a motorcycle is not like bumping into a car. Remember, motorcycles have no protection in the event of a collision.
  • Don’t rely on your lane-change indicators. Always head check. Often times your lane-change indicators will not detect the small footprint of a motorcycle. Your vehicle owner’s manual states this as well.

Riders, both new and experienced, remember these basic Motorcycle Safety Rules:

  • Never ride intoxicated or buzzed.
  • Don’t ride beyond your abilities.
  • Always have full control of your speed.
  • Keep a good following distance.
  • Mirrors can be deceiving, (never change lanes without a full head check).
  • Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
  • Always have a clear exit path (meaning don’t get boxed in).
  • Every driveway and intersection can have an automobile pulling out in front of you.
  • Intersections are where many fatalities happen.
  • Consider yourself invisible to all automobile drivers (drivers don’t always see you).
  • When stopped at an intersection, scan your surroundings, and know who’s behind you.
  • Never pull out between cars without stopping and scanning every angle.
  • Keep your focus on the road.
  • Always know what’s in your direction of travel.
  • Anything can end up on the freeway, and will (tires, furniture, tools, lumber, potholes, & more).
  • Don’t ride unfamiliar turns or roads too fast.
  • Avoid riding at night, in the rain, or in the rain at night.
  • Always wear a helmet even when traveling to or in a state that doesn’t require one.
  • Wear something bright in color, especially when riding at night (white, yellow, orange).
  • Keep your motorcycle in good mechanical order. Inspect your tires, brakes, lights, etc. before going out on the road.
  • Some automobile operators will have hostility towards motorcycle riders. Keep your distance.

If everyone does their part to be more aware and practice extra safety we can each help lower motorcycle collisions and fatalities.


A note from the author: 

As a seasoned motorcycle rider that has been riding for many years, I have witnessed several accidents, all of which could have been avoided. I also have two very close friends who have died in motorcycle accidents over the years. It is an unfortunate fact that motorcycle riding is far more dangerous than riding in an automobile.

Sources:

To write this article the Auburn Examiner referenced the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and relied on personal experience as a seasoned motorcycle rider. 

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