British Columbia Safety Council

British Columbia Safety Council

May 06, 2009 15:07 ET

British Columbia Safety Council: More Motorcycles Are Back on the Road; That Means Riders-And Drivers-Should Take Extra Caution

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 6, 2009) - As warmer weather has arrived, and high gas prices appear to be here to stay - the number of motorcycles on our roadways has increased dramatically. May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month, a time to call attention to motorcycle awareness by other motorists as well as promoting safety to the motorcyclists.

Car and truck drivers on the roads need to remember two important things about motorcycles. First, they are smaller than other vehicles and, therefore, harder to see. This requires extra diligence to make sure you are looking for them and recognize them. One of the most common factors in vehicle versus motorcycle crashes is the motorist stating, "I didn't see the motorcycle".

Second, remember the motorcyclist does not have the same bubble of protection the driver of a four-wheeled vehicle does. If there is a crash, a motorcyclist may have only a helmet and the clothes he or she is wearing to protect them from injury. Therefore, while you might have a "fender bender" crash with another car or truck, which results only in property damage, almost all crashes involving motorcycles result in serious injury to the motorcycle rider.

Here are some tips for motor vehicle operators to keep the roads safer for motorcyclists:

- Whenever possible, yield the right of way to a motorcycle.

- Be especially careful to check your "blind spot" when changing lanes.

- Be diligent in looking for motorcycles at intersections.

- Recognize that while a motorcycle only uses a portion of their lane, they are entitled to the same amount of space a normal vehicle is - and they often use all of that space to move back and forth in their lane to avoid debris, road defects, etc.

For the motorcyclist, they need to realize and accept that they are responsible for their own safety. While motorcycles can be relatively easy for people to learn how to ride, to be a safe motorcyclist requires a lot more effort than many realize. Motorcycles are a fun means of transportation and get great gas mileage, but riding poses more risk than with other motor vehicles.

Motorcycle riders are encouraged to be aggressive in taking steps to make them safe motorcyclists. Commitment to safety should be the first step when someone decides to ride. This requires recognizing that it takes more skill to ride a motorcycle through traffic than it does a car or truck. Being safe requires the rider to recognize the early affect alcohol or drugs have when someone is on two wheels versus four, and how fatigue or distraction can have dire consequences on a motorcycle.

With 38 years of experience in rider training, the BC Safety Council offers these tips for motorcyclists to consider in their ongoing efforts to be safe on the road:

- Take a motorcycle safety course. If you have not ridden a motorcycle for a long time, take a course even if you already have your license. If you have been riding for years, consider taking an advanced motorcycle safety course to enhance / refresh your safety skills.

- Make sure your motorcycle is in good condition. Check your tires (proper tire pressure is critical), lights, and overall mechanical condition. Mechanical failure on a motorcycle can cause drastically different problems than with a car or truck.

- Take steps to make yourself extra visible to the motorists around you. Wearing reflective or high visibility clothing, lighting, and effective use of lane positioning can go a long ways to make sure car and truck drivers see you.

- Wear and use good motorcycle safety protective gear.

- Ride responsibly! Speeding, loss of control, and impaired riding are the leading causes of motorcycle crashes.

- Avoid drinking and riding. Motorcycling requires balance, judgment, coordination and sensitivity to surroundings, all of which can be negatively affected by any amount of alcohol.

Our message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. Having a safe motorcycling season requires effort from all motorists - let us all do our part!

FOR BROADCAST USE:

As warmer weather has arrived, and high gas prices appear to be here to stay - the number of motorcycles on our roadways has increased dramatically. The British Columbia Safety Council wants to remind everyone that May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month, a time to call attention to motorcycle awareness by other motorists as well as promoting safety to the motorcyclists.

BC Safety Council Motorcycle information and news releases are available at www.safetycouncil.bc.ca.

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