Share the Road: May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Posted at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2017


Special to

RALEIGH – In an effort to reduce the increase in motorcycle fatalities on North Carolina roadways, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The N.C Governor’s Highway Safety Program and BikeSafe North Carolina strongly encourages motorists to share the road and watch closely for motorcycles, especially at intersections and when changing lanes. They also remind riders to practice safe riding.

“Part of our duty as drivers is to always be aware of our surroundings on the road,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.“Motorcycles are especially vunerable because they don’t have the standard safety features found in cars and trucks. We are urging drivers to please keep an eye out for their fellow roadway users and share the road.”

Motorcyclists are nearly five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than any other vehicle. A rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.

In in 2016, there were 3,644 motorcycle-related crashes that resulted in 152 fatalities and 385 serious injuries. This was a 10 percent reduction from 2015, when there were 169 rider fatalities. However, so far in 2017 there has been a 30 percent increase in fatalities from the same time of a year ago.

Safety Tips

The Governor’s Highway Safety Program urges motorcyclists and other drivers to follow the following safety tips:

Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear;
Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn;
Wear brightly colored clothes, gear, and reflective tape to increase visibility;Obey the posted speed limit; and
Never ride distracted or impaired.

Other drivers
Share the road. Motorcyclists have the right to a full lane;
Stay alert and be aware that motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car's blind spot, so take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic when changing lanes, especially at intersections;
Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic;
Keep a safe distance by allowing more following space – three to four seconds – behind motorcycles;
Be cautious, as not all turn signals on a motorcycle are self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change;
Obey the posted speed limit; and
Never drive distracted or impaired.

BikeSafe North Carolina complements the NC Vision Zero initiative, which aims to save lives on North Carolina roadways. The goal is to reach zero traffic-related fatalities through coordinated agency-to-agency efforts that help reduce risky driving behaviors by changing the overall traffic safety culture. No loss of life is acceptable.

Free Training

BikeSafe North Carolina invites motorcyclists to participate in a free “Rider Skills Day” class that offers an assessment of current driving skills and provides advice to help make their experience as a motorcyclist safer and more enjoyable. For more information, including a full schedule of classes, visit

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