Motorcycle Awareness Month is observed in May and was instituted by the National Safety Council. Come summer, and the riding season begins in earnest. It’s the perfect month to remind drivers and motorcyclists to take extra care — to respect and share the road. There exists a deep-seated prejudice against motorcyclists — reckless driving is one of them. Motorcycling is risky, they say. While that’s true, safety when driving is a two-way street. Motorcyclists must, of course, practice safe driving habits. But it doesn’t absolve everyone else on the road of their responsibilities. Everyone on the road is responsible for safety — passenger cars, trucks, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
History of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Each year, motorcycles in the U.S. travel almost 22 million miles. Unlike car drivers, motorcyclists don’t have seat belts, airbags, or the relative safety of an enclosed vehicle. Besides helmets, nothing is protecting the riders should an accident happen. Motorcycle riders and their passengers are at a high risk of serious, sometimes critical injuries. That’s usually the case if bikes collide with other vehicles.
Most motorcycle crashes happen when other drivers on the road can’t see them. Drivers may be distracted or uncomfortable with two-wheelers on the road. Anxious motorists attempt to anticipate where a motorcyclist will go, and steer their cars accordingly. All these reasons compounded with nerves results in terrible driving decisions. For motorcyclists, the situation can become extremely unsafe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) reports that motorcyclists were 25 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people in passenger cars.
Motorcyclists must protect themselves from potentially dangerous situations. But other drivers need to be equally cautious, too. It’s imperative to respect a motorcycle’s space and right of way. Remember to take care when following or passing one on the highway. Stay aware of each other’s space. It’s an excellent way to ensure safety, not only in May but the whole year through.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month May reminds all drivers to respect and share the road. The campaign also aims to educate riders on how to stay safe while riding and all the risks involved. Motorcycles account for just 3% of registered vehicles in the U.S., but they make up 14% of fatal crashes in a year.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month timeline
Motorcycles are born from the safety bicycle.
Hildebrand & Wolfmüller emerges as the first series production motorcycle.
Dr. Eric Gardner commissions a canvas to keep a rider’s head safe.
The U.S. reports 5458 motorcycle crashes — the highest ever recorded.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month FAQs
Are motorcycles safe in the U.S.?
Motorcycle riding is perfectly safe but needs good judgment, balance, and coordination. It can be dangerous if drivers are reckless.
Why do bikers point at the ground?
Riders generally point to the ground to warn others of potholes, sand, or debris on the road. They usually point to the side where the obstruction lies.
What color motorcycle is safest?
White is the best color due to its high visibility on the road. White motorcycles stand out against surrounding objects, making it easier for other motorists to spot them while driving.
How to Observe Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Check your motorcycles
Before hitting the road, conduct a thorough inspection of your motorcycle. Check tires, fuel, lights, indicators, and brakes. Also, adjust suspension or tire pressures to account for passengers.
Wear protective gear
Invest in a top-quality helmet. You could also consider shatterproof face shields and eye protection. In addition, remember to wear gloves, boots, and thick clothing.
Motorists, always check for motorcyclists — especially at turns. Motorcyclists, assume that drivers cannot see you and ride accordingly. Keep a safe distance from each other as much as possible.
5 Facts About Car Crashes That Will Blow Your Mind
Close to home
Most accidents happen within three miles of a person’s home.
Road rage expressions
An average driver will curse 32,000 times while driving a car in one lifetime.
Chances of accidents increase by 400% when talking on the phone.
Hatchbacks and sports cars are the most prone to crashing.
Young people are more vulnerable
People between the ages of 16 and 20 are more likely to die or get injured in a car crash.
Why Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is Important
It ensures safer roads
The onus of safety is on everyone. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month emphasizes collective responsibility instead of passing the buck.
It's the jolt we need
We think accidents won’t happen to us until they do. The stats each year are terrifying. This month is the wake-up call everyone needs.
It encourages better driving
We’re all for campaigns that make people better, more respectful drivers. Driving on the freeway without stress is every motorist’s dream.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month dates