The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) has launched the new Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles campaign to help motorists understand standard motorcycle driving behaviors and to learn how to drive safely around motorcycles on our roadways.
According to the latest data from NHTSA, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015 while motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.
In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes – an 8 percent increase from the 4,594 killed in 2014. More than 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Drivers — please follow these safety tips to be more aware of motorcycles and to help keep all on our roadways safe:
- Slow down, assess your surroundings, and don’t rush when crossing intersections, entering the roadway from a parking lot or driveway, or turning left. Always give yourself enough time to thoroughly check for motorcyclists.
- When turning left, ensure there is enough time and space for the motorcyclist to clear the roadway before you initiate the left turn.
- Don’t follow motorcyclists too closely and allow sufficient braking cushion between your vehicle and the motorcycle in front of you to give your vehicle enough room to come to a complete stop without a collision. Remember, a motorcyclist’s brake lights might not always be engaged when a motorcycle decelerates.
- Always double-check your blind spots when changing lanes or starting to entering or exiting the roadways. Adjust your rear- and side-view mirrors and use them properly.
- If someone you know drives a motorcycle, tell him or her to always wear a helmet—even if the law doesn’t require it. According to NHTSA, an estimated 740 lives could have been saved in 2015 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.