AAA Shares Motorcycle Safety Tips for Bikers and Drivers

AAA Shares Motorcycle Safety Tips for Bikers and Drivers

We all have a responsibility to keep roads safe
April S. Engram
motorcycle on the side of road

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and AAA Western and Central New York is reminding both drivers and bikers of key safety tips as the weather gets nicer. Many bikers will choose to ride free on the open road. Also, motorcycle and scooter sales rose 11.4 percent in 2020 during the pandemic, according to a Retail Sales Report issued recently by the Motorcycle Industry Council. As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA hopes to reduce crashes and keep the rest of the spring and summer safe for all roadway users.

The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes reached 5,014 in 2019, an increase of 29 deaths from 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured. 

Everyone can do their part to safely share the road, especially as motorcyclists take advantage of good weather. Both motorcyclists and drivers are responsible for sharing the road.

As a driver:

  • Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before entering or leaving lanes of traffic and at intersections. Most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur when drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. 
  • Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic. Even when signaling, allow enough time to determine a motorcyclist's intention before you proceed.
  • Increase following distance behind motorcycles and provide time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never try to share a lane with motorcycles – they have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.

As a motorcyclist: 

  • Before you ride, check tire pressure and tread depth. Make sure brakes, headlights and signal indicators are in working order.
  • Make sure any cargo is secure and balanced and adjust suspension and tire pressure to accommodate extra weight.
  • Always ride with a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard – look for the “DOT” symbol on the back. Helmets save lives and are required in New York State.
  • Wear other protective gear, such as gloves, a jacket and pants.
  • Make yourself visible. Keep your lights on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even during the daytime. Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you.
  • Follow traffic laws, always use turn signals, and combine hand signals with turn signals when you can to make your intentions even more clear.
  • Never ride impaired – 29 percent of fatally injured riders in 2019 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to NHTSA.

Learn AAA's tips, programs and resources to practice road safety.

AAA News & Safety

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