With spring well underway, riders are hitting the highways and byways on Kentucky roads and across the nation for that matter. The month of May has been declared Motorcycle Safety Awareness month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This serves as a reminder to all drivers to be mindful that motorcycles are sharing the road.
Through April 29, 2012 in Kentucky, 12 crashes involved a motorcycle and eight victims were not wearing helmets according to KSP statistics. So as a part of the Motorcycle Safety Awareness, Kentucky has new test developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation designed to better determine if motorcycle operator possess sufficient safety skills for riding motorcycles in traffic. The new test expands Kentucky’s current motorcycle skill test from two to four exercises which includes left turn/normal stop; cone weave/right turn from stop; and the new skills, quick stop and obstacle swerve. KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said, “It comes at a critical time since statistics show a significant increase in motorcycle-related crashes in Kentucky this year. Hopefully, the new test will help motorcycle operators get off to a safe start with sound, fundamental riding skills that will make Kentucky’s roads and highways a safer place for everyone.”
Motorcycle safety is a two-way street. Auto drivers need to be vigilant to look for motorcycles, distinguishing that motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges, because they can be harder to see, behave differently, and are far more dangerous to road hazards and impacts.
Motorcyclists need to likewise be mindful that they are indeed at risk. Following simple guidelines such as staying visible like wearing bright-colored clothing, using reflective tape and DOT-compliant helmet and not riding in other motorists’ blind spots will make a difference to reduce those dangers. But the bottom line is it’s up to drivers of all vehicles to help keep the roads safe.