Hagerstown, MD - The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) today joined with ABATE of Washington County to kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month with a campaign focused on eliminating motorcycle crashes, increasing motorcycle safety on the roads and increasing the number of licensed motorcyclists through FAST TRACK licensing, a more expedient process for becoming a licensed motorcyclist. The program, which is in its 10th year, allows customers to take the knowledge test for the Class M learner’s permit and the riding test on the same day.
With the arrival of warmer weather, Washington County attracts thousands of motorcyclists each year. There is an average of 1,581 motorcycle-involved crashes each year in Maryland (2012-2016), resulting in 1,337 injuries and 70 fatalities, of which 35 percent involved an impaired rider.
“Motorists and motorcyclists must always stay alert and share the road,” said MDOT MVA Administrator and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative, Christine Nizer. “Motorcycle crashes are preventable by both drivers and riders doing simple things, such as not being impaired, parking the phone, and looking twice when turning or changing lanes.”
Awareness signs, displaying motorcycle safety messages, will be placed in Western Maryland and throughout the state to remind motorists and riders to share the road. MDOT will also use social media and web and television advertisements to deliver targeted safety messages to the public. Banners will be placed statewide at MDOT MVA branch offices as reminders to practice safe driving behaviors.
“Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable roadway users and we are asking riders and drivers to do their part to protect themselves and fellow motorists,” said Gary “Pappy” Boward of ABATE of Washington County and ABATE of Maryland, the state’s largest motorcyclist organization. “Our goal is for both riders and drivers to make it home at the end of their trip.”
MDOT MVA is committed to offering training courses for new and experienced riders that emphasize the skills and concentration necessary to operate a motorcycle. Unfortunately, 90 percent of riders involved in crashes have no formal training. MDOT MVA provides a list of training centers where riders can ensure they have the skills and mental strategies necessary for responsible motorcycle operation.
Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving and promotes seatbelt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com.