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Safety tips to prevent motorcycle accidents

With the passing of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, it’s officially summer in Chicago. After months spent indoors or bundling up, Chicago-area residents are eager to get outdoors. For motorcycle enthusiasts, the warmer temperatures provide the opportunity to tune up their motorcycles and take to the open road. The start of summer also presents a good time for all drivers to brush up on motorcycle safety information.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially deemed the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In celebration of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month the NHTSA provides safety tips to help drivers of both cars and motorcycles stay safe this summer.

Drivers of cars and trucks may have spent months driving without encountering a motorcycle. However, as the weather improves, thousands of motorcyclists will take to area highways and roads. When encountering and sharing the road with motorcycles, it’s important to keep the following safety advice in mind.

  • Do not tailgate a motorcycle. A motorcyclist may need to stop or swerve suddenly to avoid road debris or traffic.
  • Do signal well in advance of a lane change or exit maneuver. Doing so provides a following motorcyclist ample time to plan and react to a car’s movements.
  • Do check blind spots while driving. Due to their size, motorcycles are often difficult for drivers to see.
  • Do afford a motorcyclist the same privileges and courtesies as any driver.

Additionally, motorcyclists are also reminded to adhere to the following safety rules and laws.

  • Do wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle.
  • Do obey all traffic laws.
  • Do engage turn signals prior to lane changes and, if applicable, manually turn off signal lights.

During 2012 alone, nationally 4,957 individuals were killed in motorcycle accidents. Each year, the Chicago area is scene to many car and motorcycle accidents which often result in one or more individuals being seriously injured or killed. By following the safety tips referenced above, drivers of both cars and motorcycles can help ensure the area highways and roads remain safe for all drivers.

Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month (May 2014): Talking points,” May, 2014