May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, and many state and local governments across the US. The purpose of this designation is to encourage drivers and motorcyclists to share the road safely.

The National Safety Council notes the number of motorcyclists on the road typically increases in the spring and summer seasons. If you are a motorcycle rider, the NSC recommends the following safe driving habits:

  • Avoid traveling in another driver's blind spot.
  • Remember to use your signals every time you turn or change lanes.
  • When possible, avoid riding in bad weather.

If you are a motorist in a vehicle other than a motorcycle, the NSC advises the following:

  • Exercise caution at intersections. Common motorcycle accidents involve a motorist turning left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist.
  • Give motorcyclists the full width of the lane.
  • Allow a greater following distance when you're behind a motorcyclist.

The NSC says these things can prevent motorcycle accident fatalities and injuries. According to the NHTSA, there has been a trend of increasing motorcyclist fatalities over the past 15 years, with the exception of a one-year decline in 2009. In 2012, motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 15 percent of total accident fatalities that year. Motorcycle accident injuries increased between 2011 and 2012, from 81,000 to 93,000 injuries. The agency believes if motorists and motorcyclists can learn to share the road, and respect each other's rights on the road, then these fatalities and injuries can be reduced.