In Kentucky and areas across the US, roads will be busy over the Labor Day holiday. If you are planning a motorcycle trip, make sure to review common safety pointers to avoid a crash.
More than 4,586 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2014, according to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's a 2.3 percent decrease from 2013. The NHTSA says it was the second time motorcyclist fatalities had decreased since 2009. Another 92,000 bikers were injured in accidents in 2014, an increase of 4.5 percent from the previous year.
Although fatalities fell, that's still thousands of lives lost and families altered irrevocably. And injuries showed a troubling increase. The NHTSA says in 2014, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to die in a crash than a passenger car occupant, per vehicle mile traveled.
As a motorcycle rider, you may do all you can to prevent a crash. Unfortunately, careless and negligent drivers can force you into an accident suddenly. For example, other cars can cause accidents with motorcycles when they turn left in front of them, fail to yield the right-of-way or misjudge speed. Here are some tips for staying safer on the road:
- Be visible. Reflective gear, headlights and avoiding prolonged time in a blind spot are all good ways to be seen.
- Follow at a safe distance. Follow drivers at a safe distance that allows you enough time to stop or maneuver out of the way if the vehicle in front of you does something unexpected. Also maintain a safe cushion when sharing a lane with another motorcycle and when passing another vehicle.
- Signal your intentions. Use your turn signals, brake lights and other signals in a timeframe that allows other vehicles to see and respond to you in time.
- Scan ahead of you. Scanning the roadway 12 seconds ahead of you can help you anticipate what is coming.
- Stay alert. Distracted driving, drowsy driving and otherwise not paying attention can result in an accident. Be prepared for other vehicles to do things you don't expect, and for you to have to react to those situations quickly.
Of course, even with these tips, you may find yourself involved in a crash on your motorcycle. But the pointers above are a good start to increase your safety on the road.