Drive with care during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

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May 4, 2023 - Motorcyclists are often portrayed as tough characters in popular culture, but the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reminds everyone that motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and should be given extra attention on the road.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and motorcyclists are taking advantage of the warmer weather to hit the open road. Drivers of other vehicles should give motorcycles a little more space and time to keep everyone safe.

Across the country, motorcycle fatalities are rising, according to 2021 statistics. Nationally, 5,932 motorcycle drivers and passengers were killed, representing a 7.7% increase from 2020. In Louisiana, 86 people on motorcycles were killed in 2021, a 4.9% increase from 2020, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU.

Also in 2021, 82,686 people on motorcycles were injured in the United States. In Louisiana, 1,147 motorcycle drivers and passengers were injured. Many motorcycle crashes occur because other drivers don’t see the motorcycles when making a turn or changing lanes.

“Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see, especially in a side-view mirror, so car and truck drivers should double-check for blind spots when changing lanes,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “Always visually scan oncoming traffic and use turn signals to let other vehicles know what you’re doing, even if you don’t see anyone else on the road.”

Other tips for car and truck drivers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration include:

  • Avoid distractions that place motorcyclists and other road users at risk.
  • Always give motorcycles the entire width of a lane.
  • Allow more follow distance — more than the usual three to four seconds — when behind a motorcycle to give them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Drive sober.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Obey the speed limit.

Tips for motorcyclists include:

  • Wear personal protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet with a “FMVSS No. 218 Certified” label. Learn how to identify a DOT-compliant helmet at
  • Always complete rider education courses and ride with a valid license. In 2021, 36% of motorcycle riders in fatal crashes did not have valid motorcycle licenses.
  • Obey the speed limit. More than a third of all motorcycle riders in fatal crashes in 2020 were speeding.
  • Drive sober.
  • Drive defensively.

For more information, contact:

Mark Lambert


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