JEFFERSON CITY — After being cooped up for weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, warmer weather and the need for continued social distancing could find many more motorcycles on roadways this spring and summer.
The Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety want to remind motorists to “Watch for Motorcycles” in order to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries on Missouri roadways, according to a press release.
This awareness campaign will run during the month of May and on holidays through the summer.
“Preliminary data shows that approximately 15% of Missouri traffic fatalities in 2019 involved a motorcycle, with 120 motorcyclist lives lost” said Jon Nelson, MoDOT assistant to the state highway safety and traffic engineer. “We want to see that number decrease this year by reminding motorists to be mindful of motorcyclists on the road and by reminding both motorcyclists and other drivers to obey speed limits, put down the phone, and never drive impaired.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:
- Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
- Motorcyclists must also take precautions to remain safe on the road. Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
- Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed and trained.
- Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
- Never ride distracted or impaired.