Motorcycle Safety Also Rests With Passenger Vehicle Drivers

The statistics are stunning. In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 13.10 cars out of every 100,000 on the road are involved in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles, though, is much higher: for every 100,000 motorcycles on the road, 72.34 end up in fatal crashes.

In all, motorcycle fatalities account for about 5 percent of all fatalities on U.S. highways every year, NHTSA statistics show.

This news is especially disconcerting during the summer months, when both motorcyclists and car owners travel more often. The chances of serious or fatal accidents rise during the warmer months.

The good news is that a growing number of safety organizations are spreading the word that highway safety is the job of both motorcyclists and car owners. In short, both groups need to work together to prevent fatal traffic accidents.

Motorists who want to treat motorcyclists safely when they're on road should follow certain rules.

First, drivers should always leave plenty of room between them and motorcycles. A motorcycle might unexpectedly run over a pothole or other obstruction that can cause a rider to lose control of his or her bike. By staying far enough behind motorcycles, motorists can stop or take evasive maneuvers before they hit a fallen motorcyclist.

Secondly, motorists should always use their turn signals. This can help ensure that a motorcyclist won't cut into a lane into which a driver is turning.

Car drivers should also be careful to keep their speed under control as they travel. Those motorists who drive too quickly can more easily lose control of their vehicles. This can prove deadly to motorcyclists.

Finally, motorists should always remember to keep an eye out for motorcycles when they are traveling on side streets, major roads or highways. Motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks, so they can be difficult to see on crowded highways or streets. For this reason, it's important for drivers to always look twice before changing lanes, turning or making sudden stops.

No motorist wants to be involved in a serious or fatal traffic accident, whether with another car or a motorcycle. Because of this, it's important for drivers to remember that they are often sharing the road with motorcyclists. Take the steps necessary to reduce the odds of causing a serious accident.