Statistically, July 8 is among the ten deadliest days of the year for motorcyclists, with five more “most dangerous” summer days still coming up: July 27, August 8, August 10, August 24 and August 27, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. AAA is calling for caution by motorcyclists and the vehicle drivers who share the road with them.
“In Oklahoma in 2015, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office tells us there were 88 motorcyclist fatalities in 2015, up from 54 in 2014, a 63 percent jump,” said Mark Madeja, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Reducing rider fatalities is a two-way street. Motorcyclists must practice safe riding behaviors and vehicle operators must show riders respect, give them extra room and most of all, be aware of what’s happening around them.”
Of the 2015 motorcycle fatality victims in Oklahoma:
- 9.4 percent had been drinking
- 27.9 percent were driving at an unsafe speed
- 55.7 percent were not wearing a helmet
AAA offers the following tips for the safety of both motorists and motorcyclists:
- Share the road. A motorcycle has the same privileges as any other vehicle on the road. Be courteous and give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
- Position your mirrors to minimize blind spots. Adjust the rearview mirror so it shows as much of the rear window as possible. While in the driver’s seat, place your head near the left window and adjust the left side-view mirror so you can just see the side of your vehicle. Then, position your head near the middle of the vehicle, above the center console, and adjust the right side-view mirror so you can just see the side of your vehicle.
- Look out. Look for motorcyclists on the highway, especially at intersections when a motorcyclist may be making a turn or changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.
- Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuvers. Obstructions (debris, potholes, etc.) that you may not notice can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Anticipate their possible evasive actions.
- Allow plenty of space. Do not follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
- Keep your cool. Even if you get agitated seeing a motorcyclist making unsafe moves, do not attempt to play games on the road.
- Make yourself visible. Choose protective gear that provides visibility and protection. This includes wearing bright colors. If riding at night, wear clothing with reflective materials.
- Allow space. Position your bike in the lane so that you can be seen. Allow additional space for emergency braking and room to maneuver. Avoid riding in a motorist’s blind spot. Make lane changes gradually and use appropriate signaling.
- Never share a lane beside a car. A driver may be unaware of your presence. Most drivers are looking for larger vehicles, not motorcycles.
- Clearly signal your intentions. Use turn signals before changing lanes and never weave between lanes.
- Don’t speed. Obey the posted limits and adjust your speed to the changing road conditions.
- Wear protective gear.
Helmet – Always wear a U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) approved helmet. It ican save your life.
Eye protection – Visibility is key to riding safely. Many motorcycles do not have windshields. Riders should protect their eyes with goggles that can shield the face from wind and debris, both of which can cause tearing and blurred vision.
Body Protection – Jackets with long sleeves and trousers protect limbs from injury.
Gloves – Durable gloves should be a non-slip type to permit a firm grip on controls.
Footwear – Proper over-the-ankles footwear should be worn to help prevent injuries.
The overwhelming majority of motorcyclists have had no formal training because they were self-taught or learned from family or friends. AAA recommends all motorcyclists complete a motorcycle rider education and training course. Before operating a motorcycle in Oklahoma, riders must pass the state motorcycle knowledge exam and the motorcycle road skills test.