Iowa – April 30, 2013 – On recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness
Month, the Iowa DOT reminds motorists and motorcyclists alike to “share the
road” conscientiously and courteously to help prevent motorcycle crashes, which
with 56 deaths in 2012, remains one of the most prevalent causes of death and
injury on Iowa highways.
safety campaign, initiated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, state and local safety officials
nationwide, and motorcycle safety groups everywhere, stresses the mutual
responsibilities shared by all users of the road to prevent motorcycle crashes.
Kerkove, Iowa DOT motorcycle rider education administrator, said, “Safety is a
mutual responsibility for motorists and
motorcyclists alike. Motorcyclists are about 30 times more likely to die in a
crash than passenger vehicle occupants. So whether you are driving the family sedan,
an SUV, a school bus, a delivery van or an 18-wheeler, drivers should always be
on the lookout for motorcyclists. Drivers must be aware that a motorcycle, as
one of the smallest vehicles on the road, can be ‘hiding’ in your vehicle’s
blind spots. Always check blind spots, use mirrors and signal before changing
lanes or making turns.”
Kerkove added, “Motorcyclists have
responsibilities too. Riders should obey all traffic laws and be properly
licensed, alert to other drivers, conspicuous at all times, never ride impaired
or distracted, and always wear a U.S. DOT-compliant helmet and other protective
This safety advice is particularly timely as
motorcycle fatalities in 2011 showed a continued increase to 4,612
nationally. Motorcycle fatalities accounted
for 14 percent of total highway deaths for the year despite motorcycle
registrations representing only about 3 percent of all vehicles in the United
States. Kerkove offered the following tips for drivers to help keep
motorcyclists safe on our roadways.
a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any
other motor vehicle. The person under that helmet could be a mother,
brother, doctor or friend.
allow a motorcyclist the full lane width — never try to share a lane.
a regular visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots
before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
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.
Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
more following distance — three or four seconds — when behind a
motorcycle to give the motorcyclist time to maneuver around obstacles in
the roadway, or stop in an emergency.
Kerkove said motorcyclists can increase their
- Wearing a
- Using turn signals
for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
- Signaling intentions
by combining hand signals and turn signals to draw the attention of other
- Wearing brightly
colored protective gear, and using reflective tape and stickers to increase
themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
- Never riding while
“Our message to all
drivers and motorcyclists is: Help to share in the responsibility of keeping
all road users safe, and do your part by safely sharing the road,” Kerkove
additional information on motorcycle safety, go to http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.
Toni Kerkove at 641-423-1675 or firstname.lastname@example.org