Iowa DOT News Release

Live Free-Arrive Alive

Posted on: July 11, 2012

AMES, Iowa – July 11, 2012 – Riders will tell you they enjoy the feeling of freedom that a motorcycle affords them. The majority of riders exercise that freedom while obeying traffic laws. And, a growing number of riders are wearing higher-visibility protective riding gear and helmets to protect their safety.

Still, there is a segment of riders and motorists that are putting all highway users at risk. The fact is - the odds of being involved in a motorcycle crash and living to tell about it or not suffering a serious head or other bodily injury are not good.

The loss of life of one person on Iowa’s roadways is One Too Many. Reading about the loss of more than two dozen motorcyclists sends a powerful message about the need to increase motorcycle safety. Visit the Iowa DOT’s “2012: Iowa motorcycle crashes” website at to read the stories about those who have been killed or involved in a serious motorcycle crash this year. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority were not wearing a helmet.

Riders can improve their safety by following some simple safety tips:

  • Get trained: Take a motorcycle rider safety course to develop good techniques.
  • Be properly licensed: Get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear proper protective riding gear (head protection, eye protection, protective clothing, and foot protection).
  • Ride Proud-Dress Loud: Wear bright clothing and use retroreflective material.
  • Ride unimpaired: Never drink or use drugs before getting on a motorcycle.
  • Be alert: Being tired and drowsy can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to react.
  • Know your bike: Be familiar with your motorcycle and how to handle it in adverse conditions, especially on gravel.
  • Know the traffic laws and rules of the road: Aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, can lead to a crash.
  • Watch for clues: Recognize it is difficult for motorists to judge how fast a motorcycle is going; blind spots around cars and trucks also prevent motorcyclists from being seen.

When sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • Give them a full lane of travel: Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane, never try to share a lane.
  • Give your full attention to the driving task: Remain alert for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
  • Be aware of the flashing signal: Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off.
  • Stay alert for potential erratic movements: Wind gusts, both natural and those created by large passing vehicles, can move a motorcycle across an entire lane if the rider is not prepared; rain can make the road slippery; the blinding effect of a vehicle’s high beams can be dangerous; and hazards like dead and live animals and damage to the roadway can cause an erratic movement by the motorcyclist.
  • Left turns: The most common crash type that occurs between a car/truck and motorcycle is the one that happens at an intersection as the motorist is making a left turn in front of a motorcycle.


Media contact: Toni Kerkove at 641-423-1675 or

Iowa highway in the evening