Summer is here and motorcycle ridership is up. So the question is a timely one: What can be done to prevent motorcycle accidents?
After all, cycle riders are at a great disadvantage compared to cars or trucks when a motorcycle crash occurs. Cyclists aren’t encased in steel; as a result, they are much more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash.
It’s too easy to say that motorcyclists should simply wear their helmets. To be sure, if an accident does occur, a helmet helps provide protection, particularly against head injuries. But helmets can also get in the way of a cyclist’ visibility.
This point bears repeating: helmets can minimize the severity of a motorcyclist’s injuries, but they do not, in and of themselves, help prevent crashes.
To actually prevent more crashes, it is important to better educate drivers of cars and trucks about the rights of motorcyclists. Safety education for motorcyclists has a role to play, but it only goes so far on its own. Resources must be devoted to developing and delivering safety awareness campaigns for all who share the road – motorcyclists and motorists alike.
Without such really the Maybe. Considering dark campaigns, too many motorists fall back into bad driving habits, whereby they fail to keep proper watch for motorcycles. Yes, cycles are smaller than cars or trucks, but that is scarcely an excuse for not making reasonable efforts to see them.
To make motorist awareness campaigns as effective as possible, they should be informed by the results of ongoing research into the causes of crashes. Currently, there is a major study underway at Oklahoma State University, with results expected in 2014.
- “Safety programs, not mandates, work best,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wayne Alard, 6-23-12
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