Editorial Roundup: Alabama

Cullman Times. May 16, 2024.

Editorial: Watch out for motorcycles

As the weather turns warmer day by day, we are beginning to see more and more motorcycles on our roads.

Motorcycles come in all sorts. They can be two wheelers, three-wheelers and some even have four wheels.

But unlike cars and trucks, they are open-air and much smaller.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and now is a good time to remind everyone that in this motorcycle season, it will behoove us all to be extra careful on the roads.

Motorcycles have the same road rights as cars and trucks and they also have the same responsibilities.

But there is no denying that motorcycles can sometimes be hard to spot, despite their usually loud engines, so it pays to be cautious.

Here are some important tips from the National Safety Council for motorists to help them make sure motorcycles can travel safely on our streets and roads.

— Always be on the lookout for motorcyclists.

— Focus on driving; avoid distraction.

— Use your turn signals.

— Give motorcyclists plenty of room.

— Don’t speed.

For bikers, they too have to be careful.

Experts remind us that riding a motorcycle requires a heightened sense of awareness, and more strength and coordination than driving a car. Riding also involves some risks not encountered when driving other vehicles.

Motorcycle riders require more maneuvering skill and are more vulnerable in a crash. Motorcycles are not as easily seen as cars or trucks because of their narrow profile. Other motorists, particularly those who don’t ride a motorcycle, may not be looking for motorcycles in traffic. This places the motorcyclist at risk, particularly at intersections.

Most motorcycle crashes happen when other drivers on the road can’t see them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorcyclists were 25 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people in passenger cars.

Motorcycles account for just 3 percent of registered vehicles in the U.S., but they make up 14 percent of fatal crashes in a year.

In 2022, 6,218 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, which represents 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2022, 35 percent were speeding, compared to 22 percent of all passenger car drivers. Motorcycle riders 21 to 24 years old involved in fatal crashes had the highest speeding involvement at 51 percent in 2022.

Of the 2,254 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2022, 42 percent were alcohol-impaired.

With all of these statistics in mind, let’s all be on the lookout for motorcyclists this year and every year in order to ensure safe driving for all.