The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This month is a reminder to motorists to safely “share the road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Motorcyclists are also reminded to make themselves visible to all motorists. While the rate of automobile fatalities has slowed or declined in recent years, the number of motorcyclists and their passengers injured and killed each year continues to climb.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcyclists killed in California has increased steadily for the past four years. In 2012, there were 435 motorcycle fatalities.
Motorcycles, like bicycles, are a unique and popular form of transportation in California. Still, the unprotected nature of these vehicles leaves their drivers and riders vulnerable to disabling injury and death.
If you ride a motorcycle, consider these points before you head out:
- Be seen: Wear bright, reflective clothing at all times of the day and night.
- Drive safe: Make sure your bike is properly maintained. If you are under 21, you must complete a motorcycle rider training course. If you are over 21, consider taking the course to refresh your safety skills.
- Do not drive impaired or distracted: Statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads. All motorists, regardless of vehicle, are at risk if driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, fatigue or distraction.
- Drive defensively: Assume cars and trucks do not see you. Give yourself extra time and space and approach intersections with caution.