Motorcycling News and News Releases

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Motorcycle Crash Research:
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Motorcycling General Interest

Motorcycle Awareness Campaigns

Public Safety Efforts to Increase Motorist awareness That Motorcycles Are Present in the Traffic Mix

Yard sign reading "Watch for Motorcycles"Motorcycle awareness campaigns—perhaps more aptly called "motorcyclist awareness campaigns," to call attention to the fact that if you hit a motorcycle made of metal, plastic, and rubber, the rider or riders on it that you smash into are made of flesh and blood, bones, and tissue—are directed toward motorists to remind them that motorcycles may be present in the traffic mix; and they encourage drivers to make a conscious assessment before executing a turn or making a lane change to determine whether a powered two-wheeled vehicle, operated by a two-legged person, already occupies the path of travel they intend to take.

Yard sign reading "Start Seeing Motorcycles"Collisions that occur because of a motorist crossing into a motorcycle's path are called right-of-way violations (ROWV). Some biker organizations theorize there is no need for riders to wear helmets if motorists "start seeing motorcycles" so that these types of collisions are then eliminated. That premise is based on 100 percent compliance by the driving public, which, no matter how successful the campaign, is unlikely ever to occur. The ABATE sign above is brightly colored, making it highly visible in most any circumstance (think Shell and McDonald's golden arches); yet motorcycle riders who are members of ABATE or similar bikers'-rights organizations (BROs) typically wear dark-colored apparel when they ride.

Yard sign reading "Look Twice - Save a Life"Yes, motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any other motor vehicle on the roadway, but aside from ABATE, most of the other public service campaigns promoting motorist awareness of motorcycles also assert that motorcyclists have a responsibility to make themselves visible to other motorists by wearing brightly colored attire and helmets.

Remember, motorcycle/motorcyclist awareness and "share-the-road" campaigns compose but one component of a comprehensive motorcyclist safety effort, and ROWV collisions are but one type of crash involving motorcycles.

Motorcyclists, use the first two links to access information on how to make yourselves more visible and to ride safely in proximity to a large truck. The rest of the links are ones for the purpose of increasing motorist awareness of your presence on the roadway.

Information for Motorcyclists to be Seen and Safe in Traffic

  • Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK): Concerning Car Collisions and Motorcycles - March 2006 research to identify the causes of car-motorcycle collisions at T intersections in order to reduce the number of SMIDSY (Sorry Mate [Motorcyclist] I Didn't See You) right-of-way violations (ROWVs) and to offer motorcyclists a number of avoidance and evasion strategies

    The detection of the potential for a SMIDSY will have to lie with the potential victim, i.e., the motorcyclist.

    In order for the SMIDSY avoidance and evasion strategies to be of any value to a rider, they must be practised continuously until they no longer have to be thought about and will simply become part of normal riding procedure.

    10 Reasons Why Motorists Don't See Motorcyclists Approaching

    1. Camouflage: failure to pop out from background
    2. Looming below threshold of detection
    3. Threat seen but not identified as important
    4. Expectation/rarity of encounter
    5. Estimate speed less than actual
    6. Negligence: did not look
    7. Hidden: obstruction by foreground object
    8. Physiology: bad eyesight, restricted movement
    9. Memory recall: pop-out not retained
    10. Chemical impairment: drink or drugs
  • What an RAF pilot can teach us [bicyclists and motorcyclists] about being safe on the road - more on SMIDSY crashes from London Cyclist blog post explaining why motorists need to be as methodical and deliberate as a fighter pilot and what cyclists can do to negate the effects of saccadic masking

With all the above factors working singularly or in concert to hamper a motorist's ability to detect an approaching motorcycle, hadn't you better wear a helmet and all the gear every time you ride?

  • Share the Road Safely - a program instituted by the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that strives to improve the knowledge of all highway users to minimize the likelihood of a crash with a large truck and to reduce the consequences of those that do occur, with safety tips especially for motorcyclists

    WATCH THE NO-ZONES Never hang out in a truck's blind spot or "No-Zone." Trucks have large No-Zones on both sides, the front and behind the truck. Truck drivers cannot see you when you ride in these blind spots, which allows for a greater chance of a crash. The front blind spot is particularly dangerous if you need to stop quickly. Because of their light weight and braking system, motorcycles can stop much faster than trucks. A truck may not be able to stop as quickly as you do, so you need to take special precautions to avoid crashes before they happen.

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Information to Increase Motorist Awareness of Motorcyclists in Traffic

  • MSF Motorcycle Awareness Campaign for Car Drivers - the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website for Car Drivers provides safety tips, video instruction, and other resources for car drivers and fleet managers and encourages drivers to SEEsm–Search, Evaluate, Execute—at intersections
    • More MSF Videos - Intersection: this 4-minute edit of the video in the Intersection Module features personal stories surrounding the collision between a car and motorcycle at a typical city intersection;   Common Road: this 3-minute edit of the video in the MSF Cars, Motorcycles & A Common Road Kit (discontinued) helps car drivers learn the "two-second" rule for following a motorcyclist as well as the common places where motorists and motorcyclists collide; Molly Culver PSA: We're Out There: Actress/motorcyclist Molly Culver urges motorists to increase their awareness of motorcycles in this 30-second public service announcement (PSA)
  • Michigan Motorcycle Safety Awareness - a website that promotes and chronicles Michigan's Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, including the legislative resolutions, public service announcements, news releases, and conferences, and additionally provides highway safety tips, riding checklists, and riding techniques
  • Billboard reading "While driving please watch for motorcycles"Motorcycle Awareness Campaign - an organization whose sole purpose is to promote the awareness and safety of motorcyclists on roadways to the motoring public
  • Yellow diamond traffic warning sign reading "Watch for Motorcycles"Allstate Rider News: New Signs Going Up to Protect Riders - following two years of development, including 140 temporary installations of signs reading "Look," with a motorcycle-and-rider graphic, in 2012 the ONE campaign installs permanent signs that read "Watch for Motorcycles," at targeted dangerous intersections in more than 30 U.S. cities
  • "Drive Aware, We're Out There" - a color brochure by the Maryland Highway Safety Office in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration that describes situations where crashes are likely to occur as well as high-risk situations where motorists contribute to motorcycle crashes without their vehicle ever having contact with the involved motorcycle
  • Share the Road with Motorcycles  - posters, National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month news releases, and Traffic Safety Facts and tips from NHTSA that help remind all motorists to "share the road" safely with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe, as well as reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible to other motorists Motorcycle graphic and message "Share the road with motorcyles"

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