May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month which is a nationwide initiative developed by The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind drivers the importance of safely sharing the road with motorcyclists and to remind motorcyclists to make themselves visible to other motorists.
Bob sits on the board of the Maryland Motorcycle Safety Coalition and is an avid supporter of motorcycle safety awareness not just one time a year, but every day of the year. In an effort to help carry the message to everyone on the road, maybe you have seen one of Bob’s trailers riding around town with “Share the Road” graphics, or maybe you have seen the hillside banner which is visible from Route 32 that also states “Share the Road.” We have also spent some time on various military bases these past couple months supporting the motorcycle safety days and sharing important safety messages like “all the gear, all the time”—ATGATT.
When asked what he would like to share with readers Bob explained his theory regarding every motorcyclist’s responsibility, “practicing your skills every time you go for a ride is key to attaining and remaining proficient at all the skills needed to be a skilled motorist. Doing so will prevent you from being involved in an incident where you or your motorcycle could be damaged or injured.”
According to NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities have steadily increased over the past 14 years (with the exception of one year); in 2011, 14% of fatalities were motorcycle fatalities, totaling 4,612. Bob believes this does not have to be the case and we can turn this statistic around. NHTSA provides some key safety reminders to keep in mind while traveling on the roadways:
- Never drive while distracted
- Obey all traffic laws including being properly licensed
- Motorcycles have the same rights and privileges as all other vehicles on the road
- Never share a lane with a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists need a full lane width to maneuver
- Motorcycles are difficult to see at times. Always check your mirrors and blind spots
- It is difficult to judge a motorcyclists speed
- Always signal before changing lanes so motorcyclists can anticipate traffic flow
- Wait to be sure a motorcyclist is actually turning before you proceed. A motorcyclists may forget to turn off their turn signal.
- Allow 3-4 seconds when following a motorcyclist
- NEVER drink and drive. In 2011 9,878 people were killed in highway crashed involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Motorcyclists must remember to:
- Combine hand signals with turn signals when changing lanes or making a turn
- Position yourself in the lane where you will be most visible to other drivers
- Always wear a DOT compliant helmet
- Always wear proper fitting riding gear from head to toe; preferably hi-visibility gear or something with a reflective trim.
Read the questions below and if you answer YES to any, there is a very good possibility you are not riding in properly fitted gear, making it more likely for an injury to occur if an accident were to take place:
- Does your helmet shake or move around while riding?
- Is your helmet 5 years or older since you or someone else started wearing it?
- Does your jacket and/or pants balloon up or beat you up while riding?
If you are unsure if your gear fits properly, simply ask one of our apparel specialists for full apparel assessment during your next visit.