AS WEATHER WARMS, AAA REMINDS MOTORISTS TO “SHARE THE ROAD” SAFELY WITH BIKERS

Friday, 03 May 2024 06:50

AS WEATHER WARMS, AAA REMINDS MOTORISTS TO “SHARE THE ROAD” SAFELY WITH BIKERS Featured

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 2, 2024) — Summer weather will be here soon, resulting in more and more motorcyclists on the roadways. In the last 10 years, registered motorcycles have increased 14%, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). While riding can be fun and liberating, it is not without its dangers. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and AAA is reminding everyone to take precautions when driving around motorcycles and to Share the Road safely and responsibly. 

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders continue to be overrepresented in fatal traffic crashes. In 2022, there were 6,218 motorcyclists killed – 15% of all traffic fatalities. This is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since at least 1975. Of the motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes in 2022, 35% were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.  

“The number of motorcyclists killed continues to be troubling, especially with motorcyclists representing 15% of all traffic fatalities on our nation’s roadways,” said Rylie Fletcher, spokesperson for AAA in Oklahoma.

To ensure the safety of all road users, AAA, NHTSA and other traffic safety advocates are urging drivers and motorcyclists to share the road and be alert.

“It is incumbent upon drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians to avoid distractions when on the roadways,” said Fletcher. “Motorcyclists are also reminded of their responsibility to keep themselves as safe as possible by following the rules of the road, wearing a DOT-compliant helmet, being visible to other drivers, and never driving while impaired.”

According to the National Safety Council, in 2022, although motorcycles made up only three percent of all registered vehicles and less than one percent (0.7%) of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States, motorcyclists accounted for nearly 15% of all traffic fatalities and 3.5% of all injuries.

2021 NSC Motorcycle Fatality Trends indicate the majority of motorcyclist fatalities occurred:

  • On urban roads (66%)
  • In good weather (94%)
  • During daytime (50%)
  • In crashes involving two vehicles (55%)
  • When wearing helmets (60%)

Regional Statistics

Each year in Oklahoma, an average of 76 motorcycle riders and passengers are killed in traffic crashes and 991 riders and passengers are injured, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. In 2021, there were 1,285 motorcycle-involved crashes, resulting in 76 deaths and 990 injuries.

Helmet Use

Helmet use continues to be significantly higher in states that require all motorcyclists to be helmeted than in states without a helmet requirement. According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), use of Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets by all motorcyclists (riders and passengers) was 66.5% in 2022, a slight increase from 64.9% in 2021. Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for motorcycle passengers.

“The importance of motorcyclists and their passengers wearing a helmet cannot be overstated,” said Fletcher.  “Like seat belts, helmets are a simple and effective way to reduce the likelihood of injury or death during a crash.”

Motorcycle helmet laws vary by stateIn Oklahoma, only riders under 18 are required by law to wear a helmet. It’s everyone’s responsibility — both the motor vehicle driver and the motorcyclist — to practice safe habits on the road and, ultimately, to Share the Road.

AAA Oklahoma Shares Tips for Sharing the Road

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Share the road.  A motorcycle has the same privileges as any other vehicle on the road.  Be courteous and give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
  • Look out. Look for motorcyclists on the highway, especially at intersections when a cyclist may be making a turn or changing lanes.  Clearly signal your intentions.
  • Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuvers.  Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may ignore or not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist.  Anticipate their possible evasive actions.
  • Allow plenty of space.  Do not follow a motorcycle too closely.  Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
  • Keep your cool.  Even if you get agitated seeing a motorcyclist making unsafe moves, do not attempt to play games on the road.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

  • Make yourself visible.  Choose protective gear that provides visibility and protection.  This includes wearing bright colors.  If riding at night, wear clothing with reflective materials.
  • Allow space.  Position your bike in the lane so that you can be seen. Allow additional space for emergency braking and room to maneuver. Avoid riding in a motorist’s blind spot.  Make lane changes gradually and use appropriate signaling.
  • Never share a lane beside a car. A driver may be unaware of your presence. Most drivers are looking for larger vehicles, not motorcycles.
  • Clearly signal your intentions. Use turn signals before changing lanes and never weave between lanes.
  • Complete a motorcycle rider education and training course. The overwhelming majority of motorcyclists have had no formal training – they were self-taught or learned from family and friends. Get professional training on how to be a defensive driving motorcyclist. 
  • Wear protective gear. 
    • Helmet - Always wear a U.S. DOT-approved helmet.
    • Eye protection - Visibility is key to riding safely.  Many motorcycles do not have windshields.  Riders should protect their eyes with goggles that can shield the face from wind and debris, both of which can cause tearing and, blurred vision.
    • Body Protection - Jackets with long sleeves and trousers protect limbs from injury.
    • Gloves - Durable gloves should be a non-slip type to permit a firm grip on controls.
    • Footwear - Proper over-the-ankles footwear should be worn to help prevent injuries.

 

About AAA:
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 64 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.
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