In an effort to remind automobile drivers to be aware of motorcycles sharing the road this summer, the Colorado Department of Transportation has initiated a new radio campaign. The messages feature the burly voices of several motorcyclists singing songs such as “Somebody’s Watching Me” and “Don’t You (Forget about Me).”
The campaign is designed to remind automobile drivers to take a second look before changing lanes and completing other traffic maneuvers to help avoid traffic collisions with motorcycle riders. In 2015, there have been 40 motorcycle deaths, the vast majority of which were men. Even more striking, motorcycles only make up 3 percent of vehicles on the street, but account for almost 20 percent of fatal accidents. The majority of these crashes happen in the summer.
The California Department of Transportation has several suggestions and tips to help prevent fatal collisions with motorcyclists:
– Give motorcycles the entire width of a traffic lane. Even though they are physically smaller, they have the right to a full lane as any other motor vehicle.
-Take a second look at mirrors and blind spots for motorcycle riders before making lane changes or other traffic maneuvers. This is especially important at intersections.
– Give motorcyclists extra follow distance. The department recommends motor vehicles follow stay about 3 to 4 seconds behind motorcyclists. This cushion provides ample opportunity to change course or come to a full stop in case there is an emergency.
– Drivers should never drive with distractions or in an impaired state.
Looking at national statistics, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be involved in a traffic collision than an occupant in a passenger motor vehicle. In addition, head injury is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Colorado does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, experts say more than 715 lives could be saved annually across the country if each motorcycle rider were to get in the habit of wearing a helmet.