Just days before Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month arrived in May, a 30-year-old motorcyclist was struck and injured in Seattle in a collision with a car. Authorities arrested that car’s driver on suspicion of DUI.
Too often these crashes occur. This April 26 incident exemplifies the need for campaigns such as the above-mentioned national one as well as It’s A Fine Line — Washington state’s ongoing safety promotion geared toward reducing serious and fatal injuries among motorcyclists.
Speeding, drunk and distracted driving
Through 2017, an average of 75 motorcyclists died on state roads, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. That number may climb. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 91 motorcyclists died in the state in 2019, up from the 80 fatalities recorded in both 2018 and 2017.
Drivers commit a number of egregious mistakes that lead to avoidable motorcycle crashes. Here are some of them:
- Speeding, which is a major factor in any motor vehicle accident
- Driving impaired whether on alcohol or drugs
- Texting or talking on the telephone, causing unsafe and illegal distractions
- Following too closely, potentially crashing into the rear of bike
- Failing to use turn signals when turning or changing lanes
- Failing to check blind spot when changing lanes
When making left turns in front of motorcyclists, drivers may misjudge the speed or distance of an oncoming bike, leading to a collision. This mistake accounted for 41% of the nearly 2,500 fatal crashes between motorcycles and other vehicles in 2019, according to the NHTSA
An important campaign
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is an important campaign. Getting the word out about safely sharing the road with motorcyclists is critical.