With Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in full gear across Pennsylvania, PennDOT today reminded all drivers to share the road and watch for motorcycles.
"Warmer weather brings an increase in motorcycle traffic, and it is essential for operators of all types of vehicles to look out for one another," said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.
"Driving in a courteous manner, curbing aggressive behavior, and obeying the law are positive ways motorists and motorcyclists can safely share the road."
There were more than 3,700 crashes involving motorcycles on Pennsylvania roadways in 2009, resulting in 204 motorcyclist fatalities.
The number of registered motorcycles in Pennsylvania increased in 2009 by nearly 3,000, while the number of licensed motorcyclists rose by 12,000.
By virtue of their smaller size and differences in maneuverability, motorcycles present unique challenges to cyclists and other drivers. Motorcycles are often hidden in a motorist’s blind spot or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a vehicle.
For that reason, motorists should double-check blind spots, and rearview and side mirrors before changing lanes or making turns.
While sharing the road with motorcycles, motorists should also remember to:
— Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle, and remember the motorcyclist has the same privileges as any motorist on the roadway.
— Always allow a motorcyclist the full-lane width – never try to share a lane.
— Keep your distance and allow extra space between your vehicle and the motorcycle.
— Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
— Remember, road and weather conditions that typically are minor annoyances to motorists may pose major hazards to motorcyclists.
"No matter what type of vehicle you drive, we all must take personal responsibility to ensure everyone’s safety on the roadways," Biehler added.
Additional safety tips for motorists sharing the road with motorcycles are available on PennDOT’s website, www.DriveSafePA.org, under the Traffic Safety Information Center.
Motorcyclists can find additional safety tips and much more by visiting the interactive website, www.LiveFreeRideAlive.com.