May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
As May marks Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, motorists and motorcyclists are being asked to share the road to help prevent traffic accidents, injuries and deaths on Florida’s roadways.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, last year there were nearly 10,000 motorcycle crashes statewide that resulted in 440 deaths and more than 9,800 injuries. In 2013, 462 motorcyclists including passengers died in crashes – a small uptick from 457 in 2012.
Those deaths accounted for 19.2 percent of the total highway fatalities in 2013, despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3 percent of all vehicles registered in Florida, officials reported.
Nationwide, 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in 2013 – a 6 percent dip from 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those accounted for 14 percent of the fatalities.
“We’re just asking everybody to be more diligent in their driving,” Lt. Greg Bueno, with the Florida Highway Patrol, said Thursday. “Pay attention – two hands on the wheel, two eyes on the road.”
Using Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, authorities hope to reduce these accidents.
“Crashes, injuries and deaths can be drastically reduced is motorists increase their awareness level of motorcycles,” he said. “By staying alert and using common sense and courtesy, drivers and riders alike can help to create a safer road environment for everyone.”
Motorists are urged to “look twice” for motorcycles because they are smaller vehicles.
“You want to make sure that you see their approach,” Bueno said.
“Don’t violate the right of way or try to share a lane with them or anything like that,” he added.
Motorists should avoid tailgating motorcycles.
“Most importantly, keep your eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel so that you are distraction-free,” Bueno said.
One of the big thing for motorcyclists is to make sure they are visible.
“Wear bright colors,” he said. “Look twice themselves.”
Motorcyclists should also be familiar with their motorcycles so they are in good working order.
“Obey all speed limits and traffic signals,” Bueno said. “And, of course, drive soberly.”
He pointed out that motorcyclists are more likely to be injured in an accident.
“Motorcyclists are susceptible to injury if involved in a crash, obviously, because they don’t have the protection of a vehicle,” Bueno said.
For more information, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles at: www.flhsmv.gov or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: www.nhtsa.gov.