Governor Roy Cooper Proclaims May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcyclists are nearly five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than drivers of other vehicles

Governor Roy Cooper Proclaims May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
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May 3, 2017

In an effort to reduce the increase in motorcycle fatalities on North Carolina roadways, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The NC Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and BikeSafe North Carolina strongly encourage motorists to share the road and watch closely for motorcycles, especially at intersections and when changing lanes. They also remind riders to practice safe riding.

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, more people are on the roads, including more than 469,000 drivers licensed in North Carolina with a motorcycle endorsement—making motorcycle safety awareness all the more critical heading into the busy summer travel season.

"Part of our duty as drivers is to always be aware of our surroundings on the road," said Don Nail, director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Motorcycles are especially vulnerable because they don't have the standard safety features found in cars and trucks. We are urging drivers to please keep an eye out for their fellow roadway users and share the road."

According to GHSP, motorcyclists are nearly five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than drivers of other vehicles. A rider not wearing a helmet is also five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.

In 2016, there were 3,644 motorcycle-related crashes in North Carolina that led to 152 fatalities and 385 serious injuries. This was a 10 percent reduction from 2015, when there were 169 rider fatalities. However, so far in 2017 there has been a 30 percent increase in fatalities from the same time of a year ago.

GHSP urges motorcyclists and other drivers to follow the following safety tips:

Motorcyclists

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear;
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn;
  • Wear brightly colored clothes, gear, and reflective tape to increase visibility;
  • Obey the posted speed limit; and
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.

Other drivers

  • Share the road. Motorcyclists have the right to a full lane;
  • Stay alert. Be aware that motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car's blind spot; take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic when changing lanes, especially at intersections;
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic;
  • Keep a safe distance. Allow more following distance – three to four seconds – behind motorcycles;
  • Be cautious. Be aware that not all turn signals on a motorcycle are self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change;
  • Obey the posted speed limit; and
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.