LANSING, Mich. — May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said more than 5,000 motorcyclists died in 2019.
NHTSA has several recommendations for both drivers and motorcyclists to keep everyone safe and alive on the road.
Check out some of them below.
"Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. But it’s especially important for drivers to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists such as size and visibility, and motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road."
TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS & DATA PUBLICATIONS
"If you ride a motorcycle, you already know how much fun riding can be. You understand the exhilaration of cruising the open road and the challenge of controlling a motorcycle. But motorcycling also can be dangerous. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured. Safe motorcycling takes balance, coordination, and good judgment."
MAKE SURE YOU ARE PROPERLY LICENSED
"Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require different skills and knowledge. Although motorcycle-licensing regulations vary, all States require a motorcycle license endorsement to supplement your automobile driver's license. To receive the proper endorsement in most States, you'll need to pass written and on-cycle skills tests administered by your State's licensing agency. Some States require you to take a State-sponsored rider education course. Others waive the on-cycle skills test if you've already taken and passed a State-approved course. Either way, completing a motorcycle rider education course is a good way to ensure you have the correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle. Contact your state motor vehicle administration to find a motorcycle rider-training course near you.
Of the motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2019, 30% were riding without valid motorcycle licenses"
PRACTICE OPERATING YOUR MOTORCYCLE
"Given the fact that motorcycles vary in handling and responsiveness, be sure to take the time to get accustomed to the feel of a new or unfamiliar motorcycle by riding it in a controlled area. Once you feel comfortable with your bike, you can take it into traffic. Make sure you know how to handle your motorcycle in a variety of conditions (e.g., inclement weather or encountering hazards such as slick roads, potholes, and road debris)."
BEFORE EVERY RIDE
"Check your motorcycle’s tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signal indicators, and fluid levels before you ride. You should also check under the motorcycle for signs of oil or gas leaks. If you're carrying cargo, you should secure and balance the load on the cycle; and adjust the suspension and tire pressure to accommodate the extra weight. If you're carrying a passenger, he or she should mount the motorcycle only after the engine has started; should sit as far forward as possible, directly behind you; and should keep both feet on the foot rests at all times, even when the motorcycle is stopped. Remind your passenger to keep his or her legs and feet away from the muffler. Tell your passenger to hold on firmly to your waist, hips, or belt; keep movement to a minimum; and lean at the same time and in the same direction as you do. Do not let your passenger dismount the motorcycle until you say it is safe."
On the Road
"If you're ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet. Always wear a helmet that meets U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. Snell and ANSI labels located inside the helmet also show that the helmet meets the standards of those private, non-profit organizations. Learn more about choosing the right helmet.
Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers."