Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Watch for motorcycles!

As a that warmer weather has is right around the corner in most of the country, motorcyclists will soon be out in force.  Drivers of cars, trucks and buses are reminded to look out for and share the road with motorcycle riders, and motorcycle riders are reminded to obey traffic laws, wear DOT-compliant helmets and other protective gear, and make themselves visible by wearing bright colors and using reflective tape.


Increasing safe riding and cooperation between all road users and motorcyclists will help to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.



·       Road users are reminded to never drive, bike, or walk while distracted.  Doing so can result in tragic consequences for motorcyclists.


·       A motorcycle has the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.


·       Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem that there is enough room in the traffic lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.


·       Because motorcycles are small, they can be difficult for other road users to see them, or judge their speed and distance as they approach.


·       Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.


·       Because of its smaller size, a motorcyclist can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always   check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.


·       Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals may not be self-canceling and motorcyclists sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.


·       Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.


·       Allow more following distance -- three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle so the motorcycle rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.


Helmet Use


·       Use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets increased significantly to 66 percent in 2011, up from 54 percent in 2010, based on the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). The NOPUS is the only survey that provides nationwide probability-based observed data on helmet use in the United States and is con­ducted annually by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2011 survey also found the following:


·       The increases in helmet use in 2011 occurred in many motorcyclist groups, including motorcycle riders, in States without universal helmet laws, on surface streets, in rural areas, and during weekends.

·       Helmet use in the Northeast increased signifi­cantly to 66 percent in 2011 from 54 percent in 2010.


Motorcycles and Alcohol

·       Impaired driving is one of America’s most-often-committed and deadliest crimes. Overall in 2011, nearly 10,000 people (9,878) were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.


·       The percentage of per se intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of per se intoxicated drivers of passenger cars, SUV’s or pick-up trucks.  The percentages of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes in 2011 were 29 percent for motorcycle riders, 24 percent for passenger cars, and 21 percent for light trucks. The percentage of drivers with BAC levels .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes was the lowest for large trucks (1%).


  • Alcohol affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle—balance and coordination. So it plays a particularly big role in motorcycle fatalities.


  • In 2011, 30 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 or higher. An additional 7 percent had alcohol levels of BAC .01 to .07.


  • Forty-two percent of the 1,1,997 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2011 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.


  • Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were 3.4 times more likely to have BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher than those killed during the day (47% and 14%, respectively).