The roads are getting crowded! Any advice for drivers as the motorcycles and bicycles reappear?
Motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – and throughout the year – drivers of all other vehicles are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Because of the nice weather in New England now through autumn, motorcyclists will be returning to the road after a severe winter and they are the most vulnerable drivers.
Most motorcyclists are fully aware of the risks they undertake when riding, but the statistics stress how serious an issue motorcycle safety is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycles account for just 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S., yet motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities. The NHTSA estimates motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passengers of other vehicles to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured.
A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates a yearly total of approximately 5,000 motorcycle fatalities from traffic accidents and many of those deaths could have been prevented if motorists were more mindful of safety.
Massachusetts mandates riders of all ages wear Department of Transportation approved helmets which do not interfere with hearing or vision; however, New Hampshire still does not have a helmet law, only a requirement that if someone under 18 is on a motorcycle, they must wear a helmet. I implore anyone who rides in N.H. to wear a helmet, despite the law not requiring use – it is a matter of life or death, and in many cases, severe disabilities result from brain injuries.
Even in the hot summer weather, motorcycle riders should dress for riding, not the beach. Be sure your body, arms and legs are covered appropriately.
May is also Bike Safety Month, so in addition to looking out for motorcycles, be aware of bicycle riders. Most town roads do not have bike lanes. Bikes, motorcycles and motor vehicles need to share the road with all displaying mutual understanding and respect. Just like motorcycles, bicycle riders need space on the sides of roads for their safety. By the way, AAA has extended their member benefit to include tire repair. A nice benefit.
AAA makes the following recommendations when sharing the road:
• For both bikes and motorcycles, be sure to give 3-feet of clearance, especially when passing a bicyclist.
• Look for bikes by checking mirrors and blind spots before leaving or entering a traffic lane.
• Especially use caution in neighborhoods where children are riding bikes, as their behavior can be unpredictable, and sometimes they quickly dart out and ride into the road.
• Always check for bikes going by before opening car doors.
When you see a motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic or tailgating your vehicle, the best solution to avoiding an accident is to move over and let them pass. Whether you’re the safe driver and the motorcyclists are driving like “daredevils,” you want to avoid any possibility of an accident. It makes no difference who is wrong or right, it’s more important to be safe.
We at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion want to wish you safe and enjoyable driving this spring season! Now that the weather is finally nice, enjoy some nice drives throughout our beautiful area. If we can help you prepare for your upcoming day trip, long-distance journey or just your normal commute, come see us. Our service technicians and advisors are always happy to help.