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The state Department of Transportation has launched "None For the Road," a campaign to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries. The campaign aims to encourage motorcycle safety and prevent drinking and riding - 40 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol, according to the news release.
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.
To help prevent accidents with motorcycles, drivers should:
• Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times. Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• If you see a motorcycle with a turn signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and can be forgotten. Make sure the motorcycle is turning before you proceed.
• Always allow more following distance when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
More information on motorcycle safety is available at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.