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ODOT News

June 24, 2014

For more information: Sally Ridenour, 503-986-3438 or Michele O’Leary, 503-986-4198
 

Recent motorcycle crashes serve as reminder to focus on safety

Simple actions can help prevent most crashes
 
This spring’s rash of motorcycle crashes serve as a poignant reminder that safety should be a top priority for both motorcyclists and drivers. The Oregon Department of Transportation has received preliminary reports of 19 motorcycle fatalities this year (Jan. 1 to June 19, 2014); that’s a 100 percent increase from the same time period last year (see chart).
Oregon Motorcycle Fatalities
Year
As of 6/18
Total
Year
As of 6/18
Total
2014
19
--
1999
6
18
2013
9
33
1998
6
25
2012
12
50
1997
10
22
2011
13
40
1996
11
28
2010
16
38
1995
9
22
2009
19
51
1994
8
22
2008
19
46
1993
10
28
2007
22
51
1992
11
25
2006
17
44
1991
18
35
2005
20
46
1990
12
26
2004
13
38
1989
11
43
2003
12
43
1988
21
47
2002
11
28
1987
33
75
2001
11
36
1986
30
76
2000
12
38
1985
26
73
Human error is a factor
With the warmer spring weather, motorcyclists took to the roads. Unfortunately, many of the fatal crashes this spring were due to human error. According to preliminary reports, speeding, following too closely and abrupt lane changes were factors in the majority of fatal crashes this year. In 2013, about 73 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in Oregon were attributed to the motorcyclist committing the primary error leading to the crash.
 
Training improves safety
“Our reports tell us that most of the motorcyclists killed this year have not been through a motorcycle safety education course,” said Michele O’Leary, Motorcycle Safety Program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “Safety education can sharpen your skills and make you better prepared for the challenges of riding in our great state.”
 
Basic and advanced classes are available across the state. ODOT-approved motorcycle safety courses are provided by the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program, which has been delivering rider education for three decades. Visit the TEAM Oregon website for a list of classes near you.
 
We all have a role in safety
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Motorcyclists’ responsibilities include obeying traffic laws, being alert to other drivers, never riding while impaired or distracted and always wearing a helmet and highly visible gear. All through the year, but especially during the summer when more motorcyclists are on the road, drivers should safely “share the road” with motorcycles and be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.
 
ODOT offers safety tips for drivers and motorcyclists:
 
Motorcyclists
  • Don’t speed.
  • Allow time and space to react to other motorists or changing road conditions.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Always think ahead and give yourself time to react.
  • Always wear a helmet and highly visible, protective clothing.
  • Motorcycle rider training and education save lives. TEAM OREGON (www.team-oregon.org) offers classes for beginner to advanced riders.
Drivers
  • Remember, motorcycles are vehicles with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles it can be difficult to judge their speed. They may be closer than they appear. Allow extra time before turning in front of motorcycles.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Don’t tailgate.
 
Current year data is preliminary and subject to change.