Know the Facts: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Maybe this has happened to you, or someone you know, or you have heard about it through a friend. You spend 15 or 20 minutes putting on all your motorcycle gear, going over your pre-ride checklist, and starting up your bike. You give your signature sign off and begin your ride. Everything is good, you’re relaxing and enjoying your ride when all the sudden you realize there is a passenger vehicle switching into your lane like you are not even there. You have few choices before things go bad. You lay on your horn and move to the opposite side of the lane as they realize the lane is occupied and end their merging.

Phew! That was close, but you got through that one, when many others have not.

May has been dedicated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2020 motorcycle fatalities were up eleven percent over 2019. Motorcyclist deaths accounted for fourteen percent of the total highway fatalities that year. While that is a bad sign, a positive sign was motorcycle injuries decreased by two percent in that same time.

Motorcycle riders are significantly overrepresented in traffic accidents and deaths each year. They are 28 times more likely to die in an accident than the occupants of a passenger vehicle, and four times more likely to be injured. Motorcyclists 55 and older accounted for the largest number of riders killed in 2020. From 2011 to 2020 their group had a 37% increase in motorcycle deaths. While the average age of a motorcyclist killed in 2020 went up slightly from 42 to 43 years of age.

In the 10 years from 2011 to 2020, roughly half of motorcyclists killed were killed on the weekend. While that is surprising, even more surprising is that motorcycle fatalities on weekdays increased by 15% during the same time period.

As dreary as that sounds, the NHTSA has published some tips for motorcycle riders. As warmer weather approaches and the riding season begins, it is a good time to review safe riding practices. You may find these to be common sense, but as my grandpa used to say “If it were really common, it would just be called sense”.

So, let’s take a look at their list of tips.

• Observe all traffic laws: Thirty-four percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes involved speeding.
• Wear a DOT Compliant Helmet: It is estimated that helmets saved 1,872 motorcycle rider lives in 2017 and could have saved another 749 lives if all riders had worn a motorcycle helmet.
• Complete a rider education course: Some states like Washington require a Motorcycle Safety Course to get your endorsement. Many motorcycle safety schools also offer courses to improve your riding skills.
• Ride with a current motorcycle license.
• Ride defensively.

While Eagle Leather can’t help you with your riding skills, we can offer you the protective gear, parts, and accessories for you to maximize your protection when you ride. Visit EagleLeather.com to find all the gear you need.

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