In a recent American Automobile Association survey of motorcyclists from across Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee, nearly 75 percent of all bikers said what worries them most about riding a motorcycle is the high risk of distracted motorists and the low profile of motorcycles not being seen in traffic.
"Let's face it, motorcycle riders are just harder to see than other motorists so they're more at risk," said Director Harris Blackwood of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "We have more than nine months of great biking weather here, so more people are riding in and through Georgia on their way to other southern-rally destinations. That means all Georgia drivers should always assume there's a motorcycle in traffic with them somewhere."
The most common safety problem for motorcycles is that they're often hidden in a driver's blindspot or missed at intersections due to their size. In fact, most motorcycle crashes occur during daylight hours at intersections. Other drivers either don't see the motorcycles in time to avoid a crash, or don't see the oncoming motorcycles at all.
"Motorists need to be especially alert when making a left turn to ensure that a motorcycle isn't coming straight through that intersection," said GOHS Director Blackwood. "We encourage drivers to always 'look out for motorcycles,' especially when performing lane changes, at intersections, or while passing other vehicles. Most motorists are surprised to learn that more than two-thirds of car-motorcycle crashes are caused by drivers of other motor vehicles, not by motorcyclists."
"As with all motorists, riders should avoid the use of alcoholic beverages before and during the operation of motorcycles," said Blackwood. "Nationally, about 30 percent of all motorcycle deaths involve riders with illegal alcohol levels. And Georgia's rate isn't far behind. We want to take Georgia's motorcyclists off the endangered species list."
All motorcycle operators are encouraged to enroll in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation training offered through the Georgia Department of Driver Services. It's important both for legal and safety purposes that every rider has a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license and that motorcycles also are properly registered and licensed.
Georgia Department of Transportation also is helping to spread motorcycle awareness on interstate highways with their electronic message board advisories throughout the state reminding motorists to "Look Twice. Save a Life! Motorcycles Are EVERYWHERE." For more information about Georgia's Motorcycle Safety Programs contact GOHS Motorcycle Safety Program Planner Fred Huff at 404-656-6996 or visit the GOHS website at www.gahighwaysafety.org.