Everyone has a responsibility to keep motorcyclists safe

May 7, 2015
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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Department of Licensing (DOL), Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have teamed up to remind drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.

“Motorcycle safety depends on safe driving and cooperation of everyone on the road, whether they’re on a bike or in a car,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “We’re getting closer to our Target Zero traffic safety goals but have more work to do.”

Target Zero is Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by the year 2030. In Washington, motorcycle deaths are not steadily declining like overall traffic deaths. From 2011 through 2013, motorcycles made up just 4 percent of the registered vehicles on our roads, but accounted for almost 17 percent of all traffic fatalities (225 of 1327).

In just the first four months (January-April) of 2015, there have been nine motorcyclist fatalities. The five year average (2010-2014) for this same four month time period is 12 fatalities. Speeding, running off the road, and riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are the main contributing factors in these crashes. Motorcyclists should always ride sober and within the posted speed limits, get the required training and endorsement, and wear DOT compliant helmets and protective gear.

Several projects are underway in Washington to reduce serious motorcycle crashes. A campaign called “It’s A Fine Line” promotes safe riding through social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. DOL training contractors are distributing motorcycle hangtags to dealerships statewide to encourage riders of all skill levels to get certified training.

DOL also produced a motorist awareness video that has gone viral. It’s titled, A Second Look.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative designed to encourage drivers of all other kinds of vehicles and motorcyclists to share the road with each other. For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.