Motorcycle Awareness Month

May 06, 2011 View Comments by

In an effort to promote motorcycle safety and awareness, AMA reminds all road users that the month of May is recognized as Motorcycle Awareness Month.

“Motorcyclists take to the highways in large numbers every spring, and it’s the responsibility of all road users to welcome us safely and attentively,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “This is why many states and local governments officially promote motorcycle awareness during the month of May. Unfortunately, many road users are not always mindful of those with whom they share the road, and an annual reminder is necessary for them to acknowledge the flow of motorcycles in traffic.”

The establishment of Motorcycle Awareness Month can be traced back to the early 1980s, after the release of the “Hurt Report” conducted by Motorcycle Hall of Famer Professor Hugh H. “Harry” Hurt. This report, Volume I: Technical Report, Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, set the standard for motorcycle safety research in the U.S, if not the world.

According to the Hurt Report, one of the leading causes of crashes was: “The automobile driver fails to detect the inconspicuous motorcycle in traffic. This is due to lack of motorcycle and rider conspicuity and lack of caution and awareness of the automobile driver.”

By respecting the motorcyclist’s space on the road, being watchful at intersections, not following too closely, and being more attentive to their surroundings overall, drivers can better avoid a crash with a motorcycle.

“If all drivers would make a conscious effort to look twice before turning left across the oncoming lane of traffic at an intersection, lives would be saved,” Dingman said.

AMA strongly encourages the use of personal protective equipment and proper motorcycle gear for motorcyclists. This helps reduce injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities are down by 2 percent in 2010, and 16 percent from 2009. But surely all can agree that any motorcycle related death is one too many. For this reason, AMA has long urged local and state governments to maintain or increase funding for motorcycle rider education and motorist awareness programs, and is lobbying for a new comprehensive study on all facets of motorcycle crashes.

“In the decades since the Hurt Report, the traffic environment has changed enormously, which prompted the AMA to begin campaigning for a new study several years ago,” Dingman said. “We need real, hard answers to identify the reasons behind both the long-term increase in motorcyclists’ deaths and the short-term decline. This issue is too important to simply speculate.”

The Federal Highway Administration has undertaken a comprehensive study at the Oklahoma Transportation Center, an independent and well-respected transportation research facility at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Ok, under the direction of Dr. Samir Ahmed. The study is expected to conclude in 2013.

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