May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which is an annual national educational effort to encourage automobile and truck drivers to safely share the road with motorcyclists. It’s an important endeavor. Motorcycle drivers and riders are always in a vulnerable position, so any motorcycle accident, especially those involving other vehicles, can be particularly dangerous for them.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proportion of deaths from motorcycle crashes rose from 5 percent to 15 percent of all traffic fatalities over the last 10 years. By most estimates, more than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle. And in the overwhelming majority of those accidents, the motorcycle was hit head-on.
Preventable Road Defects Also are Threats to Motorcycle Driver Safety
The biggest danger to motorcycle drivers, then, is presented by larger and heavier vehicles on the road. Since motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, they can be more difficult to spot. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, when the other vehicle makes a left turn in front of the cyclist.
Other threats, such as road defects like pot holes, inadequate guardrails and other neglected conditions, may be minimal to cars and trucks but can be deadly for the drivers and passengers of motorcycles.
But the biggest risk to motorcycle operators remains the other vehicles on the road and the inattentive acts of their operators. So in keeping with the spirit of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, here are a few tips to automobile and truck drivers when sharing the road with motorcycles.
• Always check your blind spots for motorcycles when turning or changing lanes.
• Never share or crowd a lane with a motorcycle. Just like cars, they should be afforded the full driving lane.
• Be especially alert over rough road or during inclement weather. Motorcycles have tougher times dealing with these conditions than automobiles.
• Be sure to use your turn signals so motorcyclists will be aware of your intentions well in advance