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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Are drivers really listening?

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month arrived in May, but are Louisiana’s drivers paying attention? This annual campaign’s focus is to make drivers more alert to these two-wheelers and reduce severe and fatal injuries among motorcyclists.

According to a recent study by financial website ValuePenguin, the more than 5,700 motorcycle deaths recorded in 2020 represented an 11% increase in fatalities over the previous year. And Louisiana ranked as one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists.

Speeding and impaired driving

Louisiana tied for the second-most fatal motorcycle crashes per registered motorcycles in the country. According to the study, our state recorded 5.6 deadly motorcycle crashes per 1,000 registered motorcycles. Texas ranked first with 6.2, while the District of Columbia tied Louisiana with 5.6.

Car, pickup, SUV, and large truck drivers cause a number of these crashes. Among the mistakes drivers make or unlawful conduct they do that contribute to these crashes include:

  • Speeding: Drivers who ignore the speed limit represent a danger to any vehicle on the road. Speed is a contributing factor in nearly 3 of 10 traffic fatalities.
  • Driving while impaired: Using alcohol and drugs while driving leads to poor concentration and poor judgment as well as affecting coordination and impairing vision. An impaired driver is, simply put, trouble.
  • Turning left in front of a motorcycle: The driver may not see the oncoming motorcycle or misjudge its speed, thinking he or she may safely make the turn.
  • Failing to check blind spots: This may lead drivers to veer into the path of a motorcycle in the adjacent lane and cause a collision.
  • Failing to keep their distance: Following too closely does not leave the driver with enough time to slow down to avoid a collision if a motorcycle must make an abrupt emergency maneuver.

Motorcyclists encounter a number of dangers on the road. This is why it is so important that they remain alert and visible.

Safety and education

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month may be over for this year, but it continues to have an important mission. Its messages of promoting safety and educating drivers are crucial for everyone.