Safety Urged During Motorcycle Awareness Month

To kick-off Motorcycle Awareness Month, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) are continuing their Ride Smart. Drive Smart. safety education partnership.

Ride Smart. Drive Smart. promotes awareness toward three key motorcycle safety messages:

• Ride trained/Ride licensed – Ensuring riders have a valid motorcycle endorsement, quality motorcycle training, and proper safety equipment. Also, resources are provided to find examination stations. Training opportunities through the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Motorcycle Ohio office can be found at
• Ride sober – Incorporating the AMA’s national “Ride Straight” and new “Think. Ride.” programs. Last year 56 of the fatal motorcycle crashes involved an impaired motorcyclist.
• Motorcycle awareness – Troopers are stressing the importance of drivers being aware of motorcyclists.

“Continuing our partnership with the AMA for Ride Smart. Drive Smart. maintains a focus on motorcycle safety for all motorists in Ohio during the riding season,” Colonel David W. Dicken, Patrol superintendent, said. “The only way to significantly reduce motorcycle fatalities is for everyone to share the road and to understand their responsibilities and contributions toward safe travel on our roadways.”

Last year there were 152 fatal motorcycle crashes and 3,290 injury crashes. Even though these numbers decreased from 2008 – when 212 were killed and 3,772 were injured – motorcycle safety and motorist awareness are still very important. Prior to this decrease in 2009 motorcycle fatalities had increased by about 35 percent on Ohio’s roads during the previous three years.

Both motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers need to consider the unique traffic safety elements that go along with the increase of motorcycles that will be on the roads in the coming days and weeks.

As a motorist or a passenger, there are some steps to become more aware of motorcyclists.

• Respect the motorcyclist: Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway. Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
• Look out: Look for the motorcyclist on the highway, at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.
• Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuver: Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may ignore or not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive actions.
• Allow plenty of space: Don't follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.

"The AMA is proud to support the Ohio State Highway Patrol in this important campaign," said Rob Dingman, the AMA's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our connection to the OSHP goes back more than 70 years, when Jim Davis — the winner of the first-ever AMA-sanctioned race – retired from competition and joined OSHP to help create its motorcycle-patrol unit in 1933. We're pleased to continue our ties in a way that benefits all motorcyclists."

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