Sharing The Road: Motorcycles

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured. The increase in motorcycle fatalities continues to be a tragic trend over the last few years. It is important for motorists and motorcyclists to share the road responsibly and be mindful of ways they can help prevent auto/motorcycle crashes.

Important ways motorists can reduce traffic fatalities and keep our roads safe is to understand the challenges motorcyclists face, such as size, visibility, downshifting and weaving. Motorcyclists are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles on the road, putting riders at greater risk of death and serious injury in a crash. Although motorcyclists are considered a vulnerable vehicle, they must abide by the same traffic laws as motorists. Motorcyclists are encouraged to always wear a helmet that meets DOT (Department of Transportation) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Click here, to learn more on how to choose the right helmet.

Tips for Motorists:

  • Motorists are operating a much larger vehicle and it is imperative that they keep a close eye for motorcyclists. Always allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes.
  • Always allow more distance behind a motorcycle. An extra 3-4 seconds in follow distance gives the motorcyclist more time to stop in an emergency.
  • Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

Tips for Motorcyclists:

  • Always wear a DOT- compliant helmet.
  • Use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. This is particularly important for those who ride at night.
  • Always drive with a current motorcycle license. In 2016, 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without a valid motorcycle license.
  • A motorcyclist must follow the same traffic laws and rules as a motorist.
  • Use proper signals when turning lanes and always ride within the speed limit.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.

Facts on Motorcycle Safety:

  • In 2022, helmets saved the lives of 1,800 motorcyclists who were in a crash.
  • Motorcycle riders involved (killed or survived) in fatal crashes in 2022 had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver.
  • Motorcyclists are more likely to get into a crash, their first year of riding than any other time.
  • Motorcycle fatalities have increased drastically since 2014.
  • The most common causes for motorcycle accidents are, speeding, driving under the influence, lane splitting, sudden stops and inexperienced riders.