Gear up because May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

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Warm spring weather has arrived, and motorcyclists are eager to hit the road.  As they tune their engines and prepare for numerous road trips to come, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to remind motorists and motorcyclists alike to “Watch for Motorcycles” in order to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths, and injuries on Missouri roadways.

“Preliminary reports indicate that 13% of all Missouri traffic fatalities in 2020 involved a motorcycle, with 117 motorcyclist lives lost,” said Jon Nelson, executive committee chair of the coalition. “One life is too many. We want to remind all drivers to slow down, pay attention, and look twice for motorcyclists when changing lanes or entering a roadway. We also encourage our motorcyclists to wear proper safety gear, ride at an appropriate speed, and never ride impaired.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

  • Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists must also take precautions to remain safe on the road. Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed and trained.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.
  • Anticipate the moves of other drivers and be extra cautious of road conditions and debris.

Motorcycle experts recommend motorcyclists also complete some type of training before getting out on the road. Beginning to advanced rider courses are available. You can find the one nearest you on the Missouri Motorcycle Safety website.

Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, is designed to give all Missourians a better understanding of the crash problem in our state and identify specific ways everyone can help. From individuals and families to local and statewide organizations, we all play a role in making Missouri roadways safer. The plan can be viewed on the  Save More Lives website and hits on four key messages: Buckle up. Phone down. Slow down. Drive sober.

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