With warmer weather around the corner, Missouri motorists should be on the lookout for more motorcycles on the road. Roughly 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities occur in May, June and July. May is also designated as Motorcycle Awareness month; so MoDOT is hoping to bring awareness to issues surrounding motorcycle safety.
Last year there were 81 fatalities due to Missouri motorcycle accidents, according to MoDOT. Over the last five years, about half of the state’s motorcycle accidents have involved another vehicle. Although the other driver is not always responsible for the collision, awareness among motorists is an issue MoDOT is focusing on throughout awareness month.
MoDOT is encouraging drivers to be particularly alert when merging, going through intersections or changing lanes. Motorists should also increase their following distance to three to four seconds when behind a motorcyclist. Motorcycle riders need extra time to maneuver around obstructions in the road, many of which cars may simply be able to drive over.
Motorcyclists are also encouraged to ride safely. This includes wearing a helmet that complies with the Department of Transportation requirements, and wearing appropriate riding gear and bright colored clothing.
Riders should also have the correct licenses and motorcycle endorsements, and not drink and ride. Roughly 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2011 involved drivers without proper licenses. Alcohol is involved in about 20 percent of motorcycle accidents that are fatal.
Motorcyclists are encouraged to take an education and safety class presented by the Freedom of Road Riders (FORR) at the end of this month.
Source: KirksvilleDailyExpress.com, MoDOT focusing on motorcycle awareness, Ashley Jost, 9 May 2012