May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Share the Road

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Share To Your Social Network

Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, has declared May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It is crucial for motorcyclists to actively participate in ensuring their safety. Preliminary statistics from 2023 show that there were 2,459 crashes involving motorcycles in Missouri. These incidents resulted in 2,141 injuries and 175 fatalities.

Here are vital tips for motorcyclists to keep in mind while on the road:

  • Visibility: Motorists often struggle to see motorcycles. Always keep your headlights on, regardless of the time of day. Use reflective strips or decals on your clothing and motorcycle. Stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots.
  • Dress Appropriately for Safety: Always wear a helmet and eye protection. Opt for bright and thick or leather clothing for better protection.
  • Practice Safe Riding: Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to react timely to their actions. Use strategic lane positioning to enhance your visibility. Be vigilant for vehicles making turns and signal your intentions well in advance. Assume you are invisible to others and ride defensively.
  • Understand Your Motorcycle: Seek formal training and regularly take refresher courses. Practice riding in a controlled environment before venturing into heavy traffic. Familiarize yourself with handling your motorcycle under various road conditions.

Missouri’s laws on motorcycle operation are as follows:

  • A valid license demonstrating successful completion of a motorcycle or motortricycle examination is required to operate on any highway in the state.
  • Qualified motorcycle operators aged 26 or older may ride without protective headgear on state highways if they can show proof of financial responsibility per Chapter 303 RSMo and possess medical insurance covering traffic crash injuries.
  • Motorcyclists must adhere to the same traffic laws as other motor vehicle operators.

Drivers of cars and trucks should consider the following to safely share the road with motorcyclists:

  • Remain alert and watch for motorcycles.
  • Due to their smaller size, motorcycles might appear further away and their speed harder to judge as they approach.
  • Motorcycles can be easily obscured by a vehicle’s blind spots, or by objects or backgrounds, especially during lane changes.
  • Motorcyclists might slow down by downshifting or easing off the throttle without activating a brake light. Maintain a safe following distance.
  • A motorcycle’s turn signal might not automatically cancel after a turn. Do not assume the motorcyclist is turning; pay close attention.
  • Motorcyclists might adjust their lane position for better visibility or to avoid hazards like debris, wind, or other vehicles. Allow them the necessary space within the lane and do not perceive it as reckless behavior.
  • Although the stopping distance for motorcycles is similar to cars, slippery conditions can extend this distance. Allow extra space behind motorcycles in such conditions.

Every year, too many lives are lost in traffic crashes in Missouri. The decisions you make behind the wheel can prevent tragedies. Make wise choices to avoid future regrets.

Share To Your Social Network