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Indiana is home to more than 200,000 motorcycles. As we move more into the heart of spring and closer into the summer season, more motorcyclists will return to the roadways. As part of the Traffic Safety division’s efforts to reduce the number of people injured and killed each year on Indiana's roadways, Hoosier motorists are being urged to exercise caution, common courtesy and safely share the road with motorcycles.
Far too often drivers of passenger motor vehicles who have been involved in a collision with a motorcycle report that they never saw the motorcyclist and failed to respond in time. Last year in Indiana, 152 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes. Yet inattentiveness is no excuse - we must all drive and ride defensively in order to prevent unnecessary crashes, injuries and fatalities from occurring.
In an effort to ensure that all motorcyclists enjoy a safe riding season, May is nationally recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In support of this national initiative, ICJI’s Traffic Safety division on Tuesday, April 30 will join the Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership on the steps of Monument Circle for a Motorcycle Awareness rally.
Click here to view photos from previous motorcycle awareness rallies.
A motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
Motorists and bicyclists should perform visual checks for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before they enter or exit a lane of traffic, and at intersections. Pedestrians should also get into the habit of scanning for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.
Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear. The Traffic Safety division offers tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.
While law enforcement efforts have produced great success in reducing automobile deaths in recent years, the number of motorcycle fatalities has consistently increased nationwide over the past decade. In Indiana, the lack of proper motorcycle endorsements of any kind appears to be a factor in many motorcycle crashes. In 2012, nearly one half (48.0 percent) of motorcycle operators involved in the most serious crashes were not properly licensed.
A person must meet at least one of the following conditions to obtain a motorcycles license or validation:
An Indiana motorcycle learner’s permit authorizes the permit holder to operate a motorcycle upon a highway for a period of one year. The permit holder must wear a (US DOT approved) helmet.
Motorcycle riders are more susceptible to death or injury because the motorcycle itself provides relatively no protection. By wearing the proper protective equipment each time they ride, motorcyclists increase their chances of survival in the event of a collision.
A helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment a rider can wear. Helmets act primarily to reduce the extent of head injuries, but wearing a helmet can also save your life. The days of wearing heavy, cumbersome motorcycle helmets are over. While there are now more lightweight, modern styles available, it is important that riders choose a helmet that features a DOT certification label.
By wearing a helmet each time you ride, you’ll be protected no matter where the road takes you.