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The state Department of Transportation has launched a campaign called “None For the Road” during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries.
The campaign aims to encourage overall motorcycle safety and bring attention to the dangers of drinking and riding. Forty percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol, according to the news release.
“Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise, and helmet usage is on the decline,” said Commissioner James Redeker in a statement. “We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives.”
Statistics show that in 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, an increase from 2011. Those deaths account for 15 percent of the total highway fatalities that year. Injured motorcyclists also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012, according to the release.
Helmet usage dropped from 66 percent of motorcyclists in 2011 to 60 percent in 2012. The decrease was most significant among motorcycle passengers, decreasing from 64 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012.
Tips for drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle include:
• Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
• Always allow more following distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
• Never drive distracted or impaired.
Tips for motorcyclists include:
• Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
• Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
• Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
• Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
• Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
• Never ride distracted or impaired.
More information on motorcycle safety is available at <a href="www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles">www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles</a>.