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News > Warmer weather means more motorcycles
Warmer weather means more motorcycles

Posted 5/23/2012   Updated 5/24/2012 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

5/23/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month with a theme of "Share the Road." Although the month's observance is almost over, it doesn't mean there will be fewer motorcycles on the road.

"Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway," the NHTSA website states. "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative aimed at getting motorists and motorcyclists to 'share the road' with each other."

Officials in the 66th Air Base Group Safety Office also want to make sure the Hanscom community plays a part in making sure motorcyclists stay safe while riding and drivers remain aware while driving.

"As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads," said Tech. Sgt. Chad Duprey, Ground Safety NCOIC. "With that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of all vehicles, including SUVs, passenger cars and trucks, need to be extra attentive. A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a car or truck's blind spot. Every driver needs to aggressively look for them before changing lanes or merging with traffic."

Motorists and bicyclists should perform visual checks for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before they enter or exit a lane of traffic and at intersections. Pedestrians should also get into the habit of scanning for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.

Duprey reminds all road users that "motorcyclists have responsibilities, too."

"They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted and always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear."

He reminds the Hanscom community that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.

The following are tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on the roadways.

· Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
· Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width--never try to share a lane.
· Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
· Always signal intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
· Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo¬torcycle - motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
· Allow more following distance - three or four sec¬onds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer¬gency.
· Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
· Never drive while distracted.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

· Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
· Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;
· Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
· Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
· Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity;
· Keeping high beams on during the day;
· Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
· Never driving while impaired.

For further information about motorcycle safety, view the Safety Sharepoint site available from Centernet, call the Safety Office at 781-225-5584 or visit the new Air Force Rider website at www.afsec.af.mil/airforcerider/index.asp or Department of Defense Rider website www.defense.gov/militaryrider/.

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