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Motorcycle safety month helps raise awareness

Motorcycles can be dangerous if not enjoyed properly. While some accidents cannot be prevented, most are caused by negligence, weather, or inexperience. During motorcycle safety month, we're talking about key statistics, causes of motorcycle accidents, and tips to share the road.

Key motorcycle safety statistics

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  1. According to NHTSA, in 2015, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes. 1,637 of those individuals were not wearing a helmet.

  2. In 2014, 87,000 injuries occurred due to an accident involving a motorcycle.

  3. In 2015, 27 percent of motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or over.

  4. In 2015, fatally-injured motorcycle riders between the ages of 35 to 39 had the highest rate of alcohol involvement

  5. In 2015, 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 19 percent for drivers of passenger cars, 15 percent for light truck drivers and 7 percent for large truck drivers, according to NHTSA.

  6. In 2015, 40 percent of motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were not wearing a helmet.

  7. 19 states and the District of Columbia had laws on the books requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets as of April 2016.

  8. According to NHTSA, in 2015 motorcycle helmets saved 1,772 lives.

  9. Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle riders (operators) and 41 percent effective for motorcycle passengers.

What are the top causes of motorcycle accidents?

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  • Distracted driving by both motorcycles and other cars on the road.

  • Drivers not seeing motorcycles. If drivers aren't being diligent and looking for motorcycles, they may turn in front of them, come into the motorcycle's lane or rear end them at a stop light. If you are accustomed to just looking for cars, it can be easy to simply not see the motorcycle.

  • A motorcycle hitting a patch of gravel and sliding out.

  • Inexperienced motorcyclists making mistakes. This can be coming into a corner too fast, not understanding proper group riding techniques, or not being familiar enough with your bike and what it can handle as far as braking, accelerating or turning.

  • Weather related accidents can happen fast like slippery roads.

  • Alcohol consistently ranks as a contributing factor in motorcycle accidents. Don't drink and ride!

  • Riders being unsafe. Respect the power of the motorcycle, and don't speed down the highway at 150 miles per hour.

Tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists

The top take away from the causes of accidents above are to 1) wear a helmet and 2) ride with safety in mind. Here are a few tips to help you ride safer and share the road with motorcycles.

  1. Every motorcyclist should take a safety course. And to take it a step further, if you are new to motorcycles, take your bike to an empty parking lot and get to know your bike. Practice braking and accelerating and get to know how much room you need to stop.

  2. Wear a helmet all the time, they prevent fatalities. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,630 motorcyclists' lives in 2013, and that 715 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

  3. For those in other vehicles, look for motorcycles everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled for motorcycles at intersections, on the highways, and in busy traffic.

  4. Watch the weather and don't drive in bad weather if you don't have to.

  5. Drive calmly and respect others on the road.

We encourage those that are new to motorcycles to take a safety course and get educated on how to ride safely. 

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