The Month of May recognizes two types of riders: first, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and second, Bike Month.  We felt that this would be a good time to feature both forms of riding,  and the safety factors involved to keep all cyclists safe on the roads. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.  Temperatures are on the rise and motorcyclists and bicyclists are taking to the roads.  This is the time to remind all drivers to share the highways and streets.  The League of American Bicyclists sponsors Bike Month. This year Bike to Work Week is May 14-18, (so think about it), and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18th.  The inaugural Bike to School Day is May 9, 2012.  This is a chance to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.  Regardless of your reason to ride – commuting to work or school, saving money or time, preserving your health or the environment, exploring your community –  get involved in Bike Month, and possibly recruit more people in your community to ride bikes, as well! 

First, we want to furnish safety tips for bicycle riders; however, many of them apply to motorcyclists, as well. 

  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Ride with traffic and obey the same laws as motorists.
  • Use the rightmost lane that heads in the direction that you are traveling.
  • Always look back and use hand and arm signals to indicate your intention to stop, merge, or turn.
  • Obey all traffic control devices, such as stop signs, lights, and lane markings.
  • Be visible.
  • Ride where drivers can see you.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing at all times.
  • At night, use a white front light and red rear light or reflector.  Wear reflective tape or clothing.
  • Be Predictable.
  • Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars.
  • Do not ride on the sidewalk.
  • Make eye contact with motorists to let them know you are there.
  • Anticipate conflicts.
  • Be aware of traffic around you and be prepared to take evasive action.
  • Be extra alert at intersections.
  • Learn braking and turning techniques to avoid crashes.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Make sure that the helmet fits on top of your head, not tipped back or forward.
  • After a crash or any impact that affects your helmet, visible or not, replace it immediately. 

Are you aware that over two-thirds of vehicle-motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers, not motorcyclists, and lead to more serious injuries and deaths?  The main reason is that drivers tend to look for other vehicles and don’t notice cyclists until it is too late.  There are no seatbelts on motorcycles, of course, so a rider can easily be thrown off in an accident.  Here are some safety tips for motorcyclists:

  • Practice defensive riding.  Avoid riding in blind spots, use turn signals, and extra caution when passing a vehicle.
  • Position yourself to be seen.  Lane placement will help you see further and others see you.
  • Protective eyewear and protective clothing will serve as a buffer from the impact of an accident.
  • Wear a helmet even if it is not required in your state.  Generally speaking, those who wear a helmet suffer far less head injuries and/or are less seriously injured. 

Last, but not least, here are some safety tips for drivers of automobiles and trucks:

  • Be aware of motorcycles and bicycles at intersections and when they may be making a left turn or changing lanes.
  • Anticipate a rider’s maneuver: obstructions that you do not notice may be deadly for a rider.
  • Don’t follow too closely behind a motorcycle; allow plenty of room. 
  • Be courteous to bicycle riders.
  • Be mindful that motorcyclists and bicyclists have the same rights and privileges as other drivers. 

Increased safety will result in increased awareness.  Drive friendly!  Let’s make it a safe summer for everyone.


Source: League of American Bicyclists; NHTSA