RALEIGH -For many across our state, the month of May is the unofficial start of the summer travel season. The longer days and warmer temperatures mean more people are on the roads, including more than 400,000 drivers licensed in North Carolina with a motorcycle endorsement.
In North Carolina last year, nearly 3,500 people were injured in crashes involving motorcycles and 147 people lost their lives. To remind all motorists to safely share the road, Governor McCrory has proclaimed May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
"Knowing the rules of the road and sharing the road with other users in North Carolina is very important," said Don Nail, director of the NC Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Drivers of all types of vehicles need to be alert for motorcyclists, and vice versa. Taking an extra second or two to check your surroundings can save lives."
The Governor's Highway Safety Program offers the following important safety tips to motorcyclists and other drivers:
Always wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 helmet. It is the law in North Carolina. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury than a helmeted rider.
Be visible at all times. This includes wearing bright or reflective clothing.
Share the road. Motorcyclists have the right to a full lane.
Stay alert. Be aware that motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car's blind spot; take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic when changing lanes.
Keep a safe distance. Allow more following distance behind motorcycles.
Be cautious. Be aware that turn signals on a motorcycle are not self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change.
BikeSafeNC also invites motorcyclists to participate in a free "Rider Skills Day" class that offer an assessment of current driving skills and advice to help make their experience as a motorcyclist safer and more enjoyable. For more information, including a full schedule of classes, visit the BikeSafeNC website.
For more information regarding Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and activities, visit the GHSP website.