May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


Warmer weather is here, and the sunny days mean motorcyclists are on the roadways in increasing numbers.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer wants motorists to use extra caution.

“Spring brings bike lovers out onto the roads,” he said. “It’s essential that motorists be alert and aware when behind the wheel. Motorcycle operators have the same rights to use the roadway, but their mode of transportation does not provide the protection that a vehicle does.”

Tragically, in 2019, there were 5,014 motorcycle-related fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 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 four times more likely to be injured.

“Motorcyclists face challenges vehicle operators don’t, such as a smaller size and reduced visibility,” Meyer said. “Please pay attention and remember that motorcycles are everywhere.”

Likewise, it’s just as important for motorcycle operators to use safety and fully prepare before riding. They must complete an exam to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. Statistics show 30% of those involved in fatal crashes do not have a valid motorcycle license.

Here are some tips to keep motorcycle operators safe:

–Always wear a helmet that meets U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. Never operate your motorcycle without a helmet.

–Arms and legs should be completely covered. Leather or heavy denim provide the best protection. Brightly colored clothing with reflective material increases your visibility to other motorists.

–Never take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits and lane markings. Leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles.

–Ride defensively. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur when other drivers simply fail to see the motorcyclist.

–Do a thorough check of your motorcycle before every ride, including tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signals and fluid levels.

–If you carry a passenger, make sure he or she knows how to ride safely.

“There is plenty of room on the roads for both vehicle motorists and motorcycle operators,” Meyer said. “Follow safe driving protocols, don’t operate a motorcycle on the road until you are qualified and can legally do so and most importantly, pay attention.”

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