(PIKESVILLE, Md.) — With springtime comes warmer weather and more motorcycle riders out on the road, along with a reminder from Maryland State Police to be safe during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

According to the National Safety Council, 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers died and 88,000 other were injured in 2015. Although motorcycles make up just three percent of all registered vehicles and only 0.7 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 17 percent of all occupant fatalities and four percent of all occupant injuries in 2014, the National Safety Council reports.

In Maryland, an average of 70 traffic fatalities and 1,400 injuries associated with motorcycles are reported each year, with 82 such fatalities in 2017 alone, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office. Common factors associated in motorcycle crashes include alcohol impairment, lack of helmet use and aggressive driving.

Here are some basic tips for motorcycle riders:

  • Get trained and properly licensed – A motorcycle license is required to ride on the roads in Maryland. There are also Basic Rider Training courses riders can take in Maryland prior to testing for the license.
  • Stay sober – Nearly one-third of riders who died in a motorcycle crash in 2014 were alcohol-impaired.
  • Obey speed limits – In 2015, speeding was a factor in more than 30 percent of motorcycle crashes.
  • Wear proper protective clothing, especially a helmet – Wearing a helmet is the law in Maryland. Violators could be fined up to $500.
  • Allow for proper space for emergency breaking on the road
  • Don’t drive aggressively

Here are some basic tips for general motorists:

  • Be alert for motorcyclists.
  • Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges on the road as any other driver
  • Yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcycle when turning left
  • Give motorcycle riders plenty of space
  • Use care when driving near a group of motorcyclists.

For more information about motorcycle safety in Maryland, click here.