May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so Jones & Swanson is partnering with the NHTSA to urge every Georgia driver to “share the road”. Just like other motor vehicles traveling on Georgia roadways, motorcyclists have rights and privileges, which are in place to keep cyclists safe. During the month of May, as well as every other month of the year, we urge drivers to be extra alert while traveling around motorcyclists.

As the weather gets warmer, more motorcycle riders will be out on Georgia highways. Unfortunately, statistics show that the number of fatal motorcycle crashes is rising, while the number of riders wearing helmets is declining. In 2013, the number of motorcyclists that lost their lives in traffic accidents was 4,668, accounting for 14% of total highway fatalities. This number is very high, especially when you consider that only 3% of U.S. vehicle registrations are represented by motorcycles. The NHTSA has estimated that approximately 1,630 people were saved in motorcycle crashes in 2013 by helmets; however 715 more lives could have been saved if the riders had been wearing helmets. While it is the responsibility of the motorcyclist to maintain proper riding standards and gear, other drivers on the road have a responsibility to cyclists as well.

Another scary statistic involves motorcyclists under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving. Statistics show that a greater percentage of fatal crashes involve intoxicated motorcyclists than intoxicated passenger vehicle drivers. Just as automobile drivers should not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, cyclists should never operate their motorcycles while under the influence either.

We urge all drivers, whether in a motor vehicle or on a motorcycle, to obey speed limits, follow road signs, and keep your attention on the roadway at all times. Passenger vehicle drivers should allow cycles the full width of a lane at all times, signal and carefully check mirrors and blind spots when merging or changing lanes, and allow three seconds more distance from your vehicle when following a motorcycle.

Motorcycle laws in the state of Georgia include wearing a safety helmet and goggles at all times, maintain proper licensing, and obey all traffic laws while riding. For more motorcycle safety tips, visit www.nhtsa.gov.