GREENSBORO, N.C. — There are an estimated 3.5 million automobiles registered in North Carolina. There are almost 200,000 motorcycles registered in our state too.
There are also big risks for motorcyclists on roadways when it comes to crashes.
“It's hardly a good outcome for the motorcyclist. When someone pulls out in the intersection or runs a light, that's not anything a motorcyclist can overcome,” said Dale Folwell.
The North Carolina State Treasurer knows the hazards well. Motorcycles have been part of his life for most of his life. In 2013, he was the Grand National Cross-Country National Champion.
He wants to bring awareness to motorcycle safety during this month of May. Instead of discounting the smaller machine, he says, think about the people riding on them.
“Being a motorcycle mechanic for years taught me how to take things apart and put things together. It was motorcycle people who taught me to raise my hand for the toughest jobs and at the end of the day, your life is about helping other people,” said Folwell.
May is designated Motorcycle Awareness Month. Started by the American Motorcyclist Association in the early 1980s, May has become the month in which motorcycle enthusiasts seek to educate drivers to be aware of motorcycles and to call attention to safety issues affecting motorcycle riding. There are more than 8.5 million motorcycles registered in the U.S.
It's estimated motorcyclists are 27-times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a crash.
The Treasurer asks every car driver to simply look twice.
Here are recommendations from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:
5 Tips for Drivers
- Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles. Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car's blind spots, so check — then check again — before changing lanes or making a turn.
- Predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks. A motorcycle may look farther away than it is because of its small size, and it may be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it appears.
- Keep a safe distance. Motorcyclists often slow by rolling off the throttle or downshifting, thus not activating the brake light, so allow more following distance, about 3 to 4 seconds.
- Understand lane shifting. Motorcyclists often adjust their position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
- See the person. When a motorcycle is in motion, see more than the motorcycle, see the person under the helmet, who could be your friend, neighbor, or relative.