In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in reminding motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” to help prevent crashes, injuries and deaths on Kentucky roadways.
“Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We’re entering the warmer months and that typically means more drivers may operate motorcycles on our roadways. With more than 95,000 registered motorcycles in Kentucky, all road users must stay alert and look out for one another.”
According to NHTSA, per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash. Additionally, when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way.
“As one of the smallest vehicles on the road, a motorcycle may ‘hide’ in a vehicle’s blind spots, so we advise motorists to ‘look twice to save a life’ before changing lanes and making turns,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. “Additionally, using a turn signal will alert motorcyclists of your intentions.”
In 2019 there were 1,460 crashes involving motorcycles in Kentucky. Of those crashes, 762 involved a motorcycle and at least one other vehicle, while 662 involved only the motorcycle.
“Just as we ask passenger vehicle drivers to obey all traffic laws, we expect the same from motorcyclists,” said Gray. “Additionally, we ask that they take the extra step of using proper protective gear, including a helmet and reflective clothing.”
The 1,460 crashes in 2019 resulted in 363 serious injuries and 86 deaths to motorcyclists.
The KOHS suggests that other drivers consider motorcyclists as equals, as their vehicles share all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle. Always allowing motorcyclists the full lane width and providing larger following distances are just some of the tips that KOHS recommends.
Per KOHS safety tips, motorcyclists should always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, position their vehicle in the lane to be most visible to other drivers, and take a rider training course if necessary.