CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Temperatures are warming up and motorcycle drivers are taking their bikes out after a long winter and hitting the road.
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and troopers are urging all drivers to be on the lookout.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 3,317 motorcycle crashes in the state last year. Of those, 166 were in Mahoning Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Statewide, 77 percent of motorcycle crashes were fatal.
Statistics from the patrol show that motorcycle drivers were at fault 67 percent of the time for all crashes in 2018. Only 41 percent were wearing helmets.
While statewide crashes and fatalities are down from 2017, the number is still very high.
You’ve likely heard the slogans Look Twice Save a Life or Share the Road. Those are the ideas the Ohio State Highway Patrol wants to get across to all drivers. Sergeant Brian Holt said defensive driving is an important part of that.
“Watch blind spots more closely. Take a second look at intersections more closely because it is a smaller vehicle and with a quick glance, you might miss the motorcycle,” he said.
Motorcycle Safety Instructor Janet Colucci said motorcycle drivers need to be cautious as well and take time getting back into riding.
“You gotta get back and ease into it. You don’t just want to jump on the bike after it sitting for four months and jump on the freeway and go,” she said.
Some common sense tips include:
– Do not drive impaired
– Motorcyclists, don’t drive in inclement weather
– Give cushion between you and the next person and allow a full lane of traffic for motorcycles
– Wear proper safety gear. Helmets 18 and under, bright colors
– Follow the speed limit
– Never drive tired
Colucci said distracted driving and intersections are the biggest worries for motorcycle drivers, and Motorcycle Awareness Month is helpful because it reminds car and motorcycle drivers to watch out for each other.
Holt says impaired driving is a big concern. It contributed to almost 300 of the 3,317 statewide crashes. He says it is a shared responsibility for both motorcycle and other vehicle drivers.