For more than a decade, the nation has recognized May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Such a campaign is a necessity due to the challenges motorcyclists face when sharing roads with the much larger cars, SUVs, pick-ups and tractor-trailers.
Any crash between these much larger vehicles and a motorcycle does not lead to a positive outcome. A motorcyclist and his or her passenger may sustain life-changing injuries such as head trauma, paralysis, loss of limbs and fractures. The primary focus of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is to reduce serious and fatal injuries among motorcyclists.
Driver mistakes harm bikers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 84,000 people sustained injuries in motorcycle-related crashes in the country in 2019. In addition, more than 5,000 people died in such crashes with Virginia reporting 102 motorcyclist fatalities that year.
But time and time again, drivers continue to make mistakes or flout the law through unsafe and selfish behavior that includes:
- Making left turns in front of a motorcycle: Drivers either fail to see the biker or misjudge the speed and distance of the motorcycle. The NHTSA cited this mistake as the cause for 41% of the close to 2,500 fatal crashes between motorcycles and other vehicles in 2019.
- Speeding: In fatal accidents involving motorcycles in 2019, a total of 19% of car drivers, 15% of light-truck drivers and 8% of large-truck drivers were speeding.
- Drunk driving: Alcohol-impaired drivers remain a constant threat to any driver or motorcyclist.
- Distracted driving: Texting, talking on the phone, conversing with passengers and eating behind the wheel may lead to a terrible crash.
- Veering into lane occupied by a motorcycle: Such drivers fail to check their blind spots when changing lanes.
- Following too closely: This can lead to a collision and serious injuries. And, as you know, there is no such thing as a fender-bender for a motorcycle.
Motorcyclists face these challenges every day. That’s why safety awareness is so important.
A crucial campaign
Placing the safety spotlight on a single month is not enough. But motorcyclists know this. Motorcyclists understand the importance of safety when they travel. Still, campaigns such as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month remain crucial.