GLEN BURNIE, MD (May 3, 2021) – Sometimes you see them, many times you don’t. To raise awareness and encourage all travelers to share the road with motorcycle riders, Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Maryland. In support of this designation, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office (MHSO) is reminding motorists to Be the LOOK TWICE Driver to help eliminate motorcycle crashes. This educational outreach effort focusing on motorcycle safety is part of the overall Be the Driver campaign, in which MHSO and partners encourage riders and drivers to share the road by remaining alert, driving responsibly, and signaling intentions.
“Most motorcycle fatalities occur between May and September, so Motorcycle Safety Month is an important time to remind motorists to look out for some of the most vulnerable roadway users,” said Chrissy Nizer, MDOT MVA Administrator and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We can continue to reduce the number of motorcycle tragedies on our roadways by obeying speed limits, driving and riding sober, and remaining alert.”
In 2020, there were 68 motorcycle-involved fatalities in Maryland. That’s an improvement from 2019 when 77 fatalities occurred in the state, but more can be done to promote safety on Maryland roadways.
“It’s important that everyone understand the need to share the road with our fellow travelers, whether they’re in cars and trucks, riding motorcycles or traveling by bicycle or on foot,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “We all have a role in ensuring our fellow Marylanders and visitors to our state get to their destinations safely. Staying alert and mindful of motorcycle safety is a critical element of that shared responsibility.”
As part of Motorcycle Safety Month, MDOT MVA is encouraging drivers and riders to share the road using the following tips:
- Share the road with motorcyclists. Motorcyclists can use the full lane so give them space and don’t cut them off.
- Look twice for motorcycles. When there is a crash involving a car and a motorcycle, the car driver is at fault more than half of the time. Signal your intentions and always check two or more times before making left turns, merging, changing lanes and pulling into traffic.
- Remember that motorcyclists are smaller than cars. Drivers tend to look for other cars and trucks, but not always for motorcycles. And because a rider and their motorcycle are smaller than a car, they are often difficult to see.
- Minimize and check your blind spots. Motorcycles are easily hidden by a driver’s blind spot. Check your mirrors regularly when driving and adjust them to show more of the road and less of your vehicle.
For Motorcycle Riders:
- Be courteous, non-aggressive and respectful of other road users when riding.
- Make yourself visible at all times. Choose riding gear that increases your visibility in traffic and provides protection in the event of a crash. Use bright colors and retro-reflective strips or decals, especially at night.
- Ride so you are seen. There is no one safe place to ride. Use lane positioning to be seen by drivers. Ride with your headlight on and consider using a modulating headlight.
- Give yourself space and time to react. Allow space for braking or for avoiding a crash.
- Signal your intentions. Signal before changing lanes. Avoid weaving between lanes. Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping. Make your lane changes gradually.
- Learn early, learn often. Motorcycle safety training courses have much to offer new, experienced and returning riders. Keep your skills sharp by regularly participating in a motorcycle skills training course.
Motorcycle crashes are preventable. The Be the Driver safety awareness campaign reminds both drivers and riders to drive sober, put the phone down, slow down and buckle up when in a vehicle. The Be the LOOK TWICE Driver video will debut on social media during May, depicting how a driver can easily see motorcyclists one second, and how quickly that motorcycle can disappear in a blind spot. Additional advertisements will run on Facebook, Pandora Radio, and select billboards across the state.
MDOT MVA remains committed to offering training courses for new and experienced riders that emphasize skills and concentration necessary to operate a motorcycle. MDOT MVA provides a list of training centers where riders can ensure they have the skills and mental strategies for responsible motorcycle operation.
Learn more about MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office’s commitment to zero deaths on Maryland roadways at ZeroDeathsMD.gov and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at zerodeathsmd.