May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and with that in mind, it seems like the perfect time to look at whether New Jersey is doing enough to keep motorcyclists safe. Per a report in the Atlantic Highland Herald, data from the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that in 2015, 4,868 motorcyclists were killed in crashes on roads in the US, including 50 motorcyclist fatalities in New Jersey. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists and their passengers are 37 times more at risk of suffering a traffic crash fatality than automobile occupants.
Is New Jersey’s Motorcycle Safety Program Enough?
New Jersey’s Motorcycle Safety Foundation Training Programs focus on educating motorcyclists on how to defend themselves against injury on the road, including teaching them defensive driving techniques and recommending protective clothing and equipment they should wear while riding. However, while it is definitely a good idea to ensure motorcyclists know how to handle themselves on the road, it is also crucial for motorists to know how to properly share the road with motorcyclists.
How Drivers Can Help Keep Motorcyclists Safe
The NJ.gov website includes a few tips to help drivers safely share the road with motorcyclists, including the following:
- Stay alert for motorcycles. It can be easy for a motorcycle to disappear into your vehicle’s blind spots or be blocked by other cars or trucks.
- Never tailgate a motorcycle. Due to their small size, motorcycles do not require as much stopping distance as a car or truck. Therefore, if you are too close, it could cause you to rear-end the motorcycle, which could result in the motorcyclist suffering catastrophic or even fatal injuries.