Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 2004

Each year, May is designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. States and motorcycle organizations across the country conduct a variety of activities to promote the importance of motorist awareness and sharing the road with motorcyclists.

Motorist awareness is an important component of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's comprehensive motorcycle safety program. Over two-thirds of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a motorcycle and another vehicle. The motorist either does not see the oncoming motorcycle at all or does not see the motorcycle in time to avoid a crash. It is important for motorists to know that their actions affect the safety of motorcyclists. A motorist and a motorcyclist may take different actions for the same driving or highway situation. For example, a motorist may ignore a piece of road debris; however, that same piece of road debris may be deadly for a motorcyclist.

As a motorist or a passenger, there are some steps to become more aware of motorcyclists.

Respect the motorcyclist:
Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway. Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.

Look out:
Look for the motorcyclist on the highway, at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.

Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuver:
Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may ignore or not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive actions.

Allow plenty of space:
Don't follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.

Contact your state motorcycle safety administrator or Governors' Highway Safety Representative (listed in the State and Regional Resources Catalog) to find out about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month activities near you.

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