Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) Kicks Off Motorcyclist Safety Awareness Month
April 25, 2023
DOVER, Del. (April 25, 2023) — The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) kicks off the riding season with its motorcyclist safety awareness campaign from 4/29 – 5/7 in conjunction with the Governor’s Proclamation designating May as Motorcyclist Awareness Month. OHS will be partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct statewide safety patrols to ensure motorcyclists and motorists are obeying traffic safety laws. Additionally, OHS is utilizing digital advertising, social media, public relations, and grassroots outreach to urge drivers and motorcyclists to share the road and be alert!
“In 2022 there were 22 motorcycle fatalities in Delaware. That is only 2 less than the 24 fatalities that happened in 2021. These numbers are continuing to trend the highest Delaware has seen in over 40 years. “Said Jackie McDermott, Traffic Safety Program Manager, Delaware Office of Highway Safety, “We want to remind motorcyclists to make themselves visible, follow posted speed limits, use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets and safety gear, and always ride sober. OHS wants to remind motorists that all road users have the right to be safe using Delaware roadways and motorcyclists along with pedestrians and bicyclists deserve safety and protection while on the road.”
One of the primary contributing factors to motorcycle fatalities is speeding. In 2022, there were 234 motorcycle crashes and 76 serious injuries on Delaware roadways. Another primary factor in motorcycle crashes is motorists turning left into the path of a motorcyclist. Motorcycle riders aged 29 and under accounted for 45% of all fatalities, with most crashes occurring between 7:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. Alcohol impairment also plays a significant role in motorcycle-involved crashes accounting for 22% of these fatalities.
NHTSA reports that nationally in 2020, there were 5,579 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, an increase from 2019 (5,044). In contrast, an estimated 82,528 motorcyclists were injured, a 2% increase from 83,814 motorcyclists injured in 2019. Motorcyclist deaths accounted for 14% of the total highway fatalities that year.
Research also shows that motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities each year. In fact, in 2020, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists were about 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.
Motorcyclists have the same rights to the road, and the same desire to Arrive Alive. OHS is partnering with local motorcycle suppliers and dealerships to spread awareness of safe riding practices and encourage riders to sign up for a state-approved Motorcycle Rider Safety Course.
Safe driving and riding practices by all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our highways. While on the roadways keep the following tips in mind:
Tips for Riders
- Make sure you are properly trained and licensed: Follow state guidelines to receive the proper training and skills assessment to obtain a motorcycle license. Completing a motorcycle rider education course is a good way to ensure you have the correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle and learn valuable resources to prevent a crash.
- Practice operating your motorcycle: Take the time to get accustomed to the feel of a new or unfamiliar motorcycle by riding it in a controlled area before hitting the open road.
- Check your motorcycle before every ride: Check your motorcycle’s tire pressure, tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signal indicators, and fluid levels before you ride.
- Ride responsibly: Obey traffic signals, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Understand you ARE more difficult for motorists to see, and a motorist is probably not seeing things from a motorcyclist’s perspective.
- Be alcohol and drug-free: Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed medications, negatively affect your judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. These substances also impair your alertness and reduce your reaction time.
Tips for Motorists
- Keep a Safe Distance: Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Check Your Blind Spots: Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections
- Look Before You Turn: Approximately one-half of all motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. Nearly 40 percent were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist. Look and look again, move up and back in your seat to ensure you see past the blind spots.
- Give Them the Whole Lane: Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem as though there is enough room in the traffic lane for an automobile and a motorcycle, remember the motorcycle needs room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
- Just Be Nice: Share the road with motorcyclists and all road users. Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway.
Remember, Your Vehicle Can Kill: More than half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users are most at risk for serious injuries and death. A motorcyclist will always end up on the worst side of a crash no matter “who” is at fault.
For more information on the campaign, statistics, education on motorcycle safety, and to register for a motorcycle rider safety course visit https://www.arrivealivede.com/respect-the-ride/.
About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues, such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be found at ArriveAliveDE.com. Follow OHS on the Delaware Office of Highway Safety website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.