|Glen Burnie, MD (August 30, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is reminding riders and motorists to look out for each other and to share the road this Labor Day weekend. Over the past five years, there have been an average of 20 fatal motorcycle crashes in the months of July and August, which represents nearly a third of all fatal crashes for the year. This weekend is forecast to be perfect riding weather, and MDOT MVA is urging riders and motorists to travel with caution.
“The number of motorcycle fatalities on Maryland roads over the past few weeks is alarming,” said Chrissy Nizer, MDOT MVA Administrator and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Every life lost on our roadways is preventable, so Labor Day weekend and every weekend let’s look out for each other, avoid distractions and drive responsibly.
Last year 1,268 motorcycle-involved crashes occurred in Maryland, resulting in 1,067 injuries and 58 lives lost. Those numbers are improvements from 2017, when 1,451 motorcycle-involved crashes and 85 fatalities occurred in the state. Yet more can be done to promote safety on Maryland roadways.
MDOT MVA is recommending drivers and riders follow the steps to be safe on Maryland roadways.
Tips for Motorcyclists:
Gear up before you roll out. Wearing properly-fitting motorcycle-specific protective clothing can prevent serious injury in a crash. Over the ankle boots, gloves, a protective jacket and pants and a properly-fitted helmet with face shield or protective eyewear are all part of the full gear package. Choose riding gear that increases your visibility in traffic in addition to providing protection in the event of a crash. Use bright colors and retro-reflective strips or decals, especially at night.
Ride so you are seen. There is no one safe place to ride within a lane. Use lane positioning to be seen. Ride with your headlight on and consider using a modulating headlight or adding LED accent lighting.
Give yourself space and time to react. Allow space for emergency braking or for avoiding a crash. Make your lane moves gradually and expect the unexpected.
Signal your intentions. Signal before changing lanes. Avoid weaving between lanes. Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.
Tips for Drivers:
Look twice before changing lanes or merging into traffic. Use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to be sure it is safe before merging or changing lanes.
Yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcycle when turning left. Violating a motorcyclist’s right of way can result in three points and a $1,000 fine if you cause a serious injury.
Give plenty of space. Traffic, weather and road conditions require the motorcyclists to react and maneuver differently. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to maneuver and enough time for you to adjust.
Use care when driving near a group of motorcyclists. Motorcyclists participate in organized rides which can involve many motorcycles. Driving around these groups requires communication and patience. If you need to change lanes or reach an exit, signal your intention early and wait for the riders in the group to create a gap for you. Do not merge in between groups or riders unless there is enough space to do it safely.