AAA shares motorcycle safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–With May being Motorcycle Safety Month, AAA is reminding drivers and bikers of safety tips as the weather gets better.

AAA says Memorial Day Weekend will bring many bikers to choose to ride on the open road freely, but officials hope to reduce crashes and keep roads safe for everyone using them.

Motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,958 in 2018, an almost 5% decrease, but continue to be overrepresented in traffic fatalities, AAA says.

“Everyone can do their part to safely share the road, especially as motorcyclists take advantage of good weather. Both motorcyclists and drivers are responsible for sharing the road,” a spokesperson said.

Below you can find lists of tips for both drivers and motorcyclists:

As a driver

  • Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before entering or leaving lanes of traffic and at intersections. Most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur when drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist.
  • Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic. Even when signaling, allow enough time to determine a motorcyclist’s intention before you proceed.
  • Increase following distance behind motorcycles and provide time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never try to share a lane with motorcycles – they have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.

As a motorcyclist

  • Before you ride, check tire pressure and tread depth. Make sure brakes, headlights and signal indicators are in working order.
  • Make sure any cargo is secure and balanced and adjust suspension and tire pressure to accommodate extra weight.
  • Always ride with a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard – look for the “DOT” symbol on the outside back of the helmet. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017, and that 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. Helmets are required in New York State.
  • Wear other protective gear, such as gloves, a jacket and pants.
  • Make yourself visible. Keep your lights on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even during the daytime. Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you.
  • Follow traffic laws, always use turn signals, and combine hand signals with turn signals when you can to make your intentions even more clear.
  • Never ride impaired – 27 percent of fatally injured riders in 2017 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to NHTSA – and 43 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2017 were alcohol-impaired.

Troy Licastro is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.

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