CONCORD– In an effort to help raise drivers’ awareness of motorcyclists to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries on Concord's roads, Mayor Scott Padgett has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in the City of Concord. Council Member John Sweat, who is an avid rider, requested the city's participation in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's awareness campaign.
“Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect month for Motorcycle Safety Awareness,” said Mayor Padgett. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise, and helmet usage is on the decline. All motorists need to know how to anticipate and respond to motorcyclists to avoid fatal crashes.”
In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a decrease of 2.3 percent from 2013 (4,692). Those deaths account for 14 percent of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3 percent of all vehicles in the United States in 2014. Injured motorcyclists also decreased from 93,000 in 2013 to 88,000 in 2014.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1,630 lives were saved in 2014 because of proper helmet usage, but another 715 lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn.
Wearing a helmet is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part.
“It’s up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” Sweat said. “It’s especially important for motorists to understand motorcycle safety challenges such as size and visibility, and riding practices like downshifting and weaving to be able to anticipate and respond to motorcyclist behavior.”
Padgett also offered general tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:
• Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
• Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
• Never drive distracted or impaired.
“Motorcyclists must also take precautions to remain safe on the road,” added Sweat.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:
• Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
• Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
• Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
• Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
• Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
• Never ride distracted or impaired.
“By following basic safety rules, we can all help prevent crashes,” concluded Sweat. “Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe—always share the road.”
For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.
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