Motorcycle Awareness Month means sharing the road, being alert


Motorcycle Awareness Month arrived in May with a crucial message for all motorists to share the road and remain on the alert for these smaller, two-wheeled vehicles that provide lots of freedom and adventure. Defensive driving is a crucial aspect for any motorcyclist because many other motorists take their presence for granted. They may not see the motorcyclist or simply dismiss them.

And with the excessive use of smartphones behind the wheel, some motorists pose an even harsher danger to motorcyclists. The outcome of collisions between motorcycles and much larger cars, pickups, SUVs and large trucks is usually never in question. The motorcyclist is the one who rarely walks away from such accidents. They often die or sustain catastrophic injuries.

Common mistakes that lead to collisions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 84,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries on U.S. roads in 2019, marking a 2% increase compared with the 82,000 injuries reported in 2018. Also, a total of 5,014 motorcyclists died on U.S. roads in 2019. The number represented 14 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities. Alabama reported 93 fatalities in 2019.

Here are some of the most common danger-filled motorist errors that threaten motorcyclists:

  • Making a left turn in front of a motorcyclist: In many of these situations that lead to accidents, other drivers may not be paying attention, simply do not see the motorcyclist or misjudge the speed of the motorcycle and distance between them.
  • Changing road lanes and into the motorcycle’s path: Without warning, motorcyclists find themselves in danger when a larger vehicle veers into their space. Another driver’s blind spot may be a reason for this occurring. Distracted or inattentive driving may play a factor, too.
  • Failing to stop and striking the motorcycle from behind: A driver who is not paying attention can cause such an accident when a motorcycle is stopped at a traffic light. While a rear-end collision between two cars, sometimes, is a minor accident, not so with a motorcycle.

Many Alabamans enjoy riding their motorcycles, exploring our beautiful state, seeing the history, terrain and the people. Other drivers must be aware of motorcyclists by sharing the roads, following traffic laws and just knowing that they are present.