The Motorcycle Caucus Weighs in on Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Washington, June 3, 2021
With the weather warming up and more people receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, millions of Americans will venture out and take to the open roads to enjoy the thrill of a motorcycle ride. May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Throughout this month the motorcycle community promotes safe driving habits and encourages all motorists to share the road responsibly.
Over the past 13 months, many car and truck drivers have substantially cut their driving time. Thankfully, much of the country is slowly returning to some semblance of prepandemic normalcy. As a result, our roads are experiencing increased traffic as more people return to work and plan for summer vacations.
According to studies by NHTSA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, many of those who continued to travel on the road saw speeds increase substantially, expanding the risk for all motorists. During the pandemic, NHTSA reported an 18% increase in traffic fatalities over the same period a year prior. This rate is higher than it has been in the last twelve years. It is also important that all motorists take the lessons of this pandemic to the roadways by maintaining a safe distance when traveling via motorcycle or automobile. When motorists travel too closely together, the risk of an accident or fatality increases.
Motorcycle sales jumped by double digits in 2020 due to many new and returning riders hitting the roads to enjoy the outdoors and commute in a socially distanced way. This combination of potentially out of practice drivers coupled with newer riders taking to the road makes Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month particularly important this year. There are some simple steps that can easily save lives, whether you are a first-time rider or a seasoned veteran: never drink and ride, obtain the proper license, and know how to safely operate your motorcycle. And it would be good to complete a Motorcycle Rider Safety course if you haven’t already and an Advanced Rider course if you have.
Another critical safety component of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is the need for other road users to be aware of motorcycles. Serving as the co-chairs of the House and Senate Motorcycle Caucuses, we join the motorcycling community to educate other motorists and increase their awareness of motorcyclists on the road. Riders can do their part by having their headlight on (even during daylight hours), wearing bright and noticeable safety gear, and riding responsibly. In addition, all road users can increase safety by being cautious and always “taking a second look” before pulling out or turning.
On the road we are all one community — whether we are car or truck drivers, motorcycle or scooter riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians —we need to look out for one another. Let’s make this Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month the start of a fun and safe summer. Together, we can make this the safest year ever for motorcyclists by doing our part.
U.S. SENATOR GARY PETERS (D-Mich.) CONGRESSMAN MICHAEL C. BURGESS, M.D. (R-TX)
Joni Ernst and Gary Peters – both lifelong motorcyclists – established the first Senate Motorcycle Caucus. Ernst (R-Iowa) and Peters (D-Mich.) serve as co-chairs of the caucus, which advocates on behalf of both motorcycle riders and manufacturers. Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and the House and Senate Congressional Motorcycle Caucuses introduced a bicameral resolution to designate May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Senator Ernst introduced S.Res.192 - A resolution expressing support for the designation of May 2021 as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month”— on 4/29/2021
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