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Sharing the Road with Bicycles and Motorcycles

As the spring is in full swing, so is the use of motorcycles and bicycles in the greater St. Louis area. Vehicles on the road are a danger to both. Drivers of cars and trucks are protected by a tremendous amount of metal, safety devices, and other material designed to absorb impacts and minimize injuries to vehicle occupants. Those whose preferred mode of transportation is by means of a motorcycle or bicycle have no protection against negligent drivers.

Below are a few things you need to pay special attention to. This will ensure you are not posing a threat to motorcycles and bicycles you share the road with.

  • Distracted driving
  • Running stop signs or stop lights
  • Failing to give motorcyclists and bicyclists adequate room
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Following too closely
  • Speeding
  • Not yielding the right of way

If you are on a bike or motorcycle it is important to understand the factors that can contribute to your safety. You may be particularly vulnerable to accidents caused by road defects. Always wear the proper safety gear when traveling on your bicycle or motorcycle and keep in mind, Missouri’s law, known as a universal helmet law, requires all riders to wear helmets and has been on the books since 1967.

Some common road defects that cause serious bicycle accidents include the following:

  • Potholes
  • Cracked pavement
  • Shoulder drop-offs
  • Inadequate signage
  • Misplaced road signs
  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Missing or faded bicycle lane markings

In fact, while motorcycles only comprise 3% of registered vehicles in Missouri, motorcycle accidents are on a steady rise throughout Missouri since 2013 with operators six times more likely to be killed when involved in a collision than that of passenger car injuries.

2016: 122, 40 of the fatalities included motorcyclists not wearing helmets.
2015: 91, 28 of the fatalities included motorcyclists without helmets.
2014: 89, 26 of the motorcyclists were not wearing helmets.
2013: 74, 16 of the fatalities included motorcyclists without helmets.

If you are among the vast majority of individuals who drive cars, vans and trucks, it’s quite possible that as a driver you rarely think about motorcycles. We hope by sharing these alarming statistics and what you should be looking for will aide in decreasing fatalities on our roadways.

National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will be celebrated next month in May. The National Safety Council reminds riders – and drivers – to do their part.

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