Summertime Brings Need for Increased Motorcycle Safety Measures
With summertime officially upon us, the Delaware Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Delaware State Police, would like to remind everyone about motorcycle safety. As of June 21, 2011 there have been 9 fatal crashes involving motorcycles with 10 persons killed. At the same time last year, there were only three motorcycle related fatal crashes.
Of the 10 people killed in motorcycle crashes this year, only two people were wearing helmets. Some of these fatal crashes involved the operator of the motorcycle being under the influence of alcohol. The most common causes of motorcycle crashes include impairment, speeding, following too closely and stunt riding. Improving motorcycle safety and increasing motorcycle awareness is an emphasis area of the Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
"There is an alarming trend in the increase of motorcycle related fatalities this year" said Cleon L. Cauley, Acting Secretary for the Delaware Department of Transportation. "This is why Delaware's Strategic Highway Safety Plan is focusing on motorcycle safety."
Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety offers the following advice, "Delaware has already lost more motorcyclists in fatal crashes in 2011 than in all of 2010. It's imperative that motorcyclists and motorists alike take precautions to protect these vulnerable roadway users. Slow down, look twice and don't drive impaired." "With the increase in motorcycle fatalities, the Delaware State Police would like to remind all motorists to safely "share the road" with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. In addition, we would like to remind riders to slow down, drive sober, and wear protective equipment to include a helmet."
Both motorcycle drivers and other motorists can play a role in improving motorcycle safety. Below are some tips that everyone should remember:
*Wear a helmet and other safety gear. Studies have shown that riders who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive a head injury than riders who don't.
*Slow down. Speeding was a primary cause of 42% of the fatal motorcycle crashes from 2007 through 2009.
*Ride to be seen. Don't ride in the blind spots of other vehicular traffic. Wear the proper clothing, use your headlight, ride in the best lane position, don't weave between lanes and use your turn signals.
*Know your motorcycle. Be familiar with the locations of all controls and understand how your motorcycle maneuvers, especially around curves.
*Drivers, be on the lookout for motorcycles. Motorcycles are a lot smaller than cars and they may be in your blind spot, so look twice before changing lanes. Treat motorcycles how you would want to be treated.
*If you've been drinking, don't drive. This goes for everyone!
*Watch out for road hazards such as loose sand, gravel and debris, slippery and wet road surfaces and uneven road surfaces. Be extra cautious when driving through work zones.
The Division of Motor Vehicles provides motorcycle safety classes. There are classes for novice riders, advanced riders, and even expert riders. For more information about these classes, visit the DMV
For additional motorcycle safety information, please visit the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
For more information about the Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan, please visit DelDOT