Every Day Counts (EDC) – Cost Effective Highway Projects Delivered Quickly and More Efficiently Distracted Driving

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

With the fair weather months upon us, the chances of motorists interacting with motorcycles on the roadways are likely. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation , motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise an average of 10% per year over the last 20 years. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts statistics also show their percentage of overall traffic fatalities and injuries has also had a steady increase.

Even though motorcycles account for less than 5% of registered vehicles in the US, they are traveling some 21 million miles each year. NHTSA reports that per vehicle traveled, motorcyclists were more than 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash. That is an astounding number.

Certainly there are patterns to be found in the crash data for motorcycle incidents. Motorcycle collisions are more likely with fixed objects than other vehicles; however, about 75% of two-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles were motorcyclists colliding with vehicles in front of them. They are more likely to crash with other vehicles turning left, while the motorcycles were going straight, passing, or overtaking passenger vehicles.

How do we, as motorists, improve motorcycle safety awareness? Most of the time, it is haste that is our shortcoming. Vehicles changing lanes into the motorcycle path or cutting them off, often lead to the motorcycle having to abruptly slow, stop, or swerve. Similarly, vehicles tend to turn into the path of oncoming motorcycles when turning left, because they misread how much response time there is. Some 33% of motorcycle crashes are intersection related. David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety, offers the following advice: “Drivers can easily misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle because of its smaller dimensions. To prevent crashes, drivers should check the position of a motorcycle at least two or three times before they proceed through an intersection or make a turn.”

NHTSA offers several tips for drivers on how to “Share the Road” with motorcycles:

motorcycle safety poster

If you would like some resources for running a motorcycle awareness month campaign in your area, please visit NHTSA’s motorcycle website and the Traffic Safety Marketing website.

Every Day Counts (EDC) – Cost Effective Highway Projects Delivered Quickly and More Efficiently Distracted Driving