For motorcycle riders in North Carolina, 2018 proved to be a particularly dangerous year. There were 170 motorcycle fatalities in 2018, which was nearly a 21 percent increase from the previous year.
A spokesperson from AAA Carolinas stated the company did not know for certain what caused the increase in deaths, but believed it could at least be partly due to increased distractions while people drive. The roadside safety company cautioned that with spring just around the corner, there will be more motorcyclists on the road. She recommended that drivers keep their eyes open for motorcyclists, and remember that even a minor accident with a person on a motorcycle can prove deadly since they have less protection.
Motorcyclists need to remain vigilant as well. Here are few safety tips as you get out on your motorcycle this season:
- Keep five to six seconds behind an automobile you are going to pass. Check for oncoming traffic from the left side, signal your turn and then check for traffic again before you pass.
- Do not drink and ride.
- Wear some piece of brightly colored clothing. You do not need to dress head to toe in neon, but wear a brightly colored hat, bandana or even gloves. Add something that will make drivers notice you.
- Only ride with other motorcyclists you trust. Riding next to someone who is inexperienced, showing off or intoxicated puts you in danger. Do not put yourself in that situation.
- Look at where you want you and your motorcycle to go. If you are looking at the side of the road, you are more likely to veer that direction. You should instead be looking for the next turn or the next open spot. This helps keep you focused and confident.
- Wear all the proper safety gear like gloves, closed footwear and pants. You can even buy Kevlar-reinforced denim that looks like a regular pair of jeans, but offers much more protection if you are in a crash.
- Always wear a helmet. Helmet technology improves every year. Helmets come in super lightweight fiberglass or thermoplastic materials designed to disperse the energy of impact from an accident. Some helmet shields also include anti-fog and anti-scratch protections to ensure you can always see the road ahead of you.
Riding on a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than riding in a car. However, if you exercise a little extra caution, make yourself visible and invest in good safety gear, you can reduce your chance of crashing while you are out enjoying the open road.