May 2021 Press Release

Safe Communities announced today that there have been four fatal crashes in Wood County this year compared to two at this time last year.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Motorcyclists and motorists can work together to save lives. Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. It’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists, such as size and visibility, and motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.
 
Tips for Motorists:

  • If you are turning at an intersection and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists alike), and proceed with caution. Slow your decision-making process down at intersections.
  • One’s reaction time and ability to assess and respond to a potential collision, such as a lane change, is significantly hindered if there are large differences in speed among vehicles in traffic. When approaching a congested roadway, being diligent in modifying your speed to match that of the cars in traffic can be a lifesaver, particularly for motorcyclists.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: A motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely. 
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance.
  • Size also counts against motorcycles when it comes to blind spots. Motorcyclists can be easily hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position. 
  • Do not be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle — it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more follow distance — three or four seconds — when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust their lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.

Tips for Motorcyclists:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet with a “FMVSS No. 218 Certified” label and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. An additional 749 lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn their helmets. Learn how to identify a safe, DOT-compliant helmet here:
    https://www.nhtsa.gov/motorcycle-safety/choose-right-motorcycle-helmet.
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted — it is not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else. Plus, a DUI costs $10,000 on average, and can lead to jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates.
  • Always drive with a current motorcycle license. It’s the law. In 2019, 30% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.

 
Join Wood County Safe Communities to Get Up to Speed on Motorcycles! Be aware and Watch for Motorcycles.

For More Information:
Lt. Robert J. Ashenfelter, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419.352.2481
Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator: 419.372.9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu