Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
Kentucky State Police Tips Help Drivers "Share the Road" With Motorcycles
Date of News Release: 05/03/2007
(Frankfort, Kentucky) - The Kentucky State Police is joining with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in observing May as "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month." All motorists are reminded to safely "Share the Road" with motorcycles and be extra alert when driving to help keep motorcyclists safe.
Motorcycle riders now account for one out of every 10 U.S. road fatalities each year - with motorcyclist deaths from traffic crashes rising in each of the last eight years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,553 motorcyclists lost their lives in highway crashes in 2005. Of those, 56 percent involved another vehicle in addition to the motorcycle in the crash.
In the United States, motorcycle registrations account for 2 percent of all vehicle registrations, but motorcycles account for 10 percent of all vehicle crashes. Last year in Kentucky, there were 1,770 collisions involving motorcycles. Of that figure, there were 1,417 injures with 94 being fatal injuries.
Motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size.
"It's crucial that motorists always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections," says Lt. Col. Dean Hayes, director of the KSP Operations Division.
Statistics show that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in the event of a crash. Research shows that approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while only 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in their vehicle. According to NHTSA, per vehicle mile traveled in 2005, motorcyclists were 37 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than occupants in passenger vehicles.
The Kentucky State Police offers the following driving tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width. Never try to share a lane.
Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Remember that road conditions which are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists.
Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don't tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
"Too many lives are being lost," says Hayes. "Our message to all drivers is: make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. Do your part by safely 'Sharing the Road' with motorcycles."