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May is a time for everyone to be more aware of motorcycles. The Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month campaign helps.

Added May 14, 2019
Person riding a motorcyle

Now that May is here, motorcycle riding season is in full swing across the nation. That’s why the effort is on to make sure all drivers are aware that you and your bike are sharing the road with them. The Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month campaign is designed to make sure that motorcycles are a part of everyone’s safe driving mindset.

Understanding the problem

Here are some motorcycle-related accident facts gathered by Dairyland® from their records:*

  • Nearly half of all motorcycle collisions involve another vehicle, while 48 percent involve a single bike
  • A quarter of all accidents come from a motorcycle rider losing control
  • 4 p.m. is the most common hour for a motorcycle accident to occur
  • Collision with another vehicle is the most common cause of fatalities

Safely operating a motor vehicle requires focusing on good driving practices. Avoiding distractions is a good place to start. Most car and truck drivers don’t understand how vulnerable motorcycle riders are in traffic and aren’t necessarily looking out for them. Whether it’s using a cellphone, eating, drinking, or other in-vehicle activities, drivers create many distractions for themselves. That means you need to be extra aware of those around you.

Being seen and safe on a motorcycle

While the campaign strives to increase motorcycle safety awareness for car and truck drivers, as a bike rider, you should also take steps to be seen and safe. The first one is understanding the challenge the average driver has in seeing you in traffic. Those challenges include:

  • Size: Because of their small size, motorcycles appear to be farther away than they actually are.
  • Visibility: Motorcycles can easily be hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Signaling: Some bike turn signals are not self-canceling, which can send the wrong message to surrounding drivers.
  • Movement: The ability to avoid surface hazards that car drivers don’t see can make motorcycle movements seem erratic.
  • Confusion: At night, a single headlight looks like a car a long distance away.
  • Appearance: Black leather riding gear disappears in the dark of night.

You should also expect that other vehicles may violate your right-of-way. Start by actively scanning for hazards. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Search-Evaluate-Execute (SEE) strategy offers these tips:

  • Adjust your speed, space cushion, and lane position to be more visible in traffic and allow for time and space to react to right-of-way violations.
  • Install additional lights to your motorcycle.
  • Always use turn signals and cancel them after the turn.
  • Wear high-visibility vests like what highway construction workers wear, as they’re inexpensive and effective day and night.
    Expect the unexpected.
  • Always wear all your safety gear, all the time.

Check out this Motorcycle Safety Foundation publication for more tips on being seen and safe while riding your motorcycle.

Till next time, ride safe!

Related links:

If you’re looking for more suggestions for staying safe on the roads, check out our Safety section.

To make sure you can see—and be seen—motorcycle light maintenance is key. Here’s what you should look for.

Safe motorcycle rides start—and stop—with proper brake maintenance. We explain the difference between the types of brakes on bikes.

*Above figures are sourced from Dairyland internal data