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Consumer advisory: Safely 'Share the Road' with motorcyclists

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Motorcycles

Consumer advisory: Safely 'Share the Road' with motorcyclists

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
May 7, 2015

NHTSA 17-15
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Contact: José Alberto Uclés, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov

Safe-riding practices, helmet use and cooperation from all drivers will reduce fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) remind motorists and motorcyclists to ‘Share the Road’ during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. A motorcyclist has the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as any other motorist on the roadway.

“Sharing the road means looking out for your neighbors, whether driving, riding, or walking – and when everyone obeys the rules of the road we all travel more safely,” said Secretary Foxx. “It’s especially important now as the weather gets warmer and more motorcyclists will be out on the road – we must look out for their safety.”

In 2013, 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes – a six percent decrease from 2012 (4,986). Those deaths account for 14 percent of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only three percent of all vehicles in the United States in the same year.

Key statistical findings in NHTSA’s new 2013 Motorcycle Traffic Safety Facts include:

Alcohol continues to be a factor in motorcycle fatalities. According to data from 2013, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol impaired drivers than any other vehicle type (27 percent for motorcycles, 23 percent for passenger cars, 21 percent for light trucks, and 2 percent for large trucks).

“Drunk driving by motorcyclists remains a serious, unacceptable threat to our families and our communities,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “It's critical to safety that motorcyclists never ride while drunk or distracted, and always wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear every time they take to the road. All road users must share the road conscientiously.”

Helmet usage remained the same from 2012 to 2013 at 60 percent. NHTSA estimates that 1,630 lives were saved in 2013 because of proper helmet usage, but another 715 lives could have been saved if helmets had been worn. In states without universal helmet laws, 59 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2013 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in States with universal helmet laws.

Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers.

Currently 19 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require helmet use by all motorcyclists. In 28 States, helmet use is required for only a subset of motorcyclists (typically, motorcyclists under age 18), and 3 States (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) did not require helmet use for motorcyclists of any age.

NHTSA offers these tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.

Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with VIN look up | Download the Safercar Mobile App for Apple or Android devices | Receive recall alerts by email | Visit us on Facebook.com/NHTSA | Follow us on Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | Watch 5-Star Safety Ratings crash tests on YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

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