05/09/11 The Governor’s Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) are asking drivers to help keep Indiana roadways safe by looking out for motorcyclists.
According to ICJI, there were 2,615 crashes involving motorcycles on Indiana roadways last year. As a result of these collisions, more than 2,100 people were either killed or injured. Data also shows that more than half of these collisions involved impact with another motor vehicle. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
“Size and maneuverability have made motorcycles a popular form of transportation for many Hoosiers,” said Ryan Klitzsch, ICJI Traffic Safety Division Director. “The downside is that these features are also what make our effort to increase motorist awareness so necessary,” he continued. “Motorcycles are smaller and provide less protection than automobiles, making riders less visible and more susceptible to injury in the event of a collision.”
Hoosier motorists can help protect the safety of motorcyclists by simply using safe driving practices and obeying traffic signs and signals. While distracted driving, tailgating, and following too closely can result in a crash for any roadway user, motorcyclists are at even greater risk. In fact, nearly 55 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes with another vehicle last year were caused by a failure to yield or following too closely.
Motorcyclists also have a responsibility to keep themselves safe on the road. “The most important safety precaution a rider can take is to see and be seen,” said ABATE of Indiana executive director, Jay Jackson. “Find ways to make yourself more visible. Whether holding the handlebars or the steering wheel, accidents can often be deterred just by being seen,” he added.
Hoosier motorists can safely “share the road” with motorcycles by:
- Allowing motorcyclists the full lane width—never try to share a lane;
- Always checking mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections;
- Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
- Waiting to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed. Motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off.; and
- Allowing for a greater following distance – three or four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. Motorcyclists need enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
For more information about Motorcycle Safety in Indiana, visit www.in.gov/cji/2533.htm
Governor Mitch Daniels recently proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month in Indiana. To raise awareness about motorcycle safety in the Hoosier state, ABATE of Indiana participates in events throughout the year. For more information, visit www.abateofindiana.org.