Will the arrival of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May enlighten more of today’s drivers on state roads? It is difficult to tell, however, it remains crucial that the country and motorcycle groups continue to promote such campaigns.
Too often, motorcyclists and their passengers are on the wrong end of a motor vehicle collision, sustaining serious, life-changing and fatal injuries. Some drivers may take for granted the presence of motorcyclists. This exemplifies the importance of motorcycle awareness.
Motorcycle injuries and deaths on the rise in state
In recent years, motorcycle injuries and fatalities have been on a steady increase in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, a total of 907 motorcycle-related injuries occurred in 2020, while 66 fatalities were recorded.
Those were the most deaths in the past six years and the highest number of injuries since 2016 when more than 1,000 motorcyclists were hurt on state roads. Of those injuries, 30% were severe such as head trauma, spinal cord injuries and facial fractures.
Common driver mistakes
Many of these collisions are due to errors made by car, SUV, pickup and large truck drivers. Among the most common driver mistakes that lead to crashes with motorcyclists include:
- Making left turns in front of a motorcycle: Drivers may misjudge the distance between their vehicles and an oncoming motorcycle or the speed of the cycle. Of the 2,495 fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, 41% or 1,034 happened when another vehicle turned left in front of a motorcyclist, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Making a lane change and veering into motorcyclist’s path: Drivers must always remain aware of their blind spots. Never make a lane change without checking blind spots. Sometimes, drivers make lane changes while distracted or not paying attention.
- Crashing into the back of a motorcycle: This often happens when a motorcycle is stopped in traffic, whether at a traffic signal or crosswalk. While such an accident involving two cars may lead to a fender-bender, that is not the case when a car strikes a motorcycle. Injuries to a motorcyclists may prove fatal.
These are among the many reasons why motorcyclists must remain vigilant driving on state roads.
Drivers must abide by traffic laws
Every month during motorcycle season should be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It is important to educate all drivers, making them aware that they must share the road, abide by traffic laws and pay attention behind the wheel. Motorcyclists and other drivers will applaud.