In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in reminding motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” to help prevent crashes, injuries and deaths on Kentucky roadways.
“Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We’re entering the warmer months and that typically means more drivers may operate motorcycles on our roadways. With more than 95,000 registered motorcycles in Kentucky, all road users must stay alert and look out for one another.”
According to NHTSA, per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash. Additionally, when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way.
“As one of the smallest vehicles on the road, a motorcycle may ‘hide’ in a vehicle’s blind spots, so we advise motorists to ‘look twice to save a life’ before changing lanes and making turns,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. “Additionally, using a turn signal will alert motorcyclists of your intentions.”
In 2019 there were 1,460 crashes involving motorcycles in Kentucky. Of those crashes, 762 involved a motorcycle and at least one other vehicle, while 662 involved only the motorcycle.
“Just as we ask passenger vehicle drivers to obey all traffic laws, we expect the same from motorcyclists,” said Gray. “Additionally, we ask that they take the extra step of using proper protective gear, including a helmet and reflective clothing.”
The 1,460 crashes in 2019 resulted in 363 serious injuries and 86 deaths to motorcyclists.
The KOHS offers the following tips for drivers:
• Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width – never try to share a lane
• Perform a regular visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections
• Always use turn signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic
• Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed
• Allow more following distance –three or four seconds – when behind a motorcycle to give the motorcyclist time to maneuver around obstacles in the roadway, or stop in an emergency
• Pay attention.
The KOHS offers the following tips for motorcyclists:
• Use turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it
• Signal intentions by combining hand signals and turn signals
• Wear brightly colored protective gear and using reflective tape and stickers to increase visibility
• Position in the lane where most visible to other drivers
• Never ride impaired
• Take a rider-training course. Find information at www.msf-usa.org
For more information on motorcycle safety, visit NHTSA’s website.
From Kentucky Office of Highway Safety