Drivers: Share the road with motorcycles, bicycles

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The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency wants drivers to remember not all vehicles have four or more wheels and it’s imperative to share the road.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and Bicycle Safety Month, and ALEA is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a campaign focused on the safety of two-wheeled vehicles.

“With Alabama’s scenic roadways and warmer weather fast approaching, both motorcyclists and cyclists increasingly take to the road to enjoy a relaxing ride,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said in a statement. “However, these riders are some of the most vulnerable users on the road and are exposed to dangers those driving vehicles do not experience. If everyone is vigilant and respectful to other riders and drivers when we are on the roadway, we can all do our part to keep all of our roadways safe.”

According to statistics from the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety, 44 people on bicycles were fatally injured and 207 were seriously injured in traffic crashes between 2018 and 2022. Fourteen of the 44 died in 2022.

During the same reporting period, 417 motorcycle occupants were killed and 2,248 were seriously injured. Of those, 95 died in 2022.

Major contributing factors to crashes involving bicycles include:

  • Drivers who say they didn’t see the cyclist
  • Improper crossing by the cyclist
  • A cyclist’s improper lane change or being on the wrong side of the road

Major contributing factors to crashes involving motorcycles include:

  • Aggressive operation
  • Being followed too closely by another vehicle
  • Traveling over the speed limit
  • Drivers who say they didn’t see the motorcyclist
  • Defective equipment
  • Driving under the influence
  • Traveling too fast for conditions
  • Swerving to avoid an animal

ALEA encourages anyone riding a bicycle or motorcycle to do the following:

  • Pre-ride inspection:
    • Check tires and other equipment before leaving to ensure your vehicle is in good working condition
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Consider riding in a group, as drivers are more likely to see a group than an individual
  • Bicyclists should be on the lookout for bicycling-specific lanes
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Pay attention and don’t ride distracted
  • Watch for others on the road and ride defensively
  • Wear high-visibility gear, especially at night, and consider protective clothing

For drivers, ALEA encourages the following:

  • Avoid distractions while driving, meaning don’t mess with your phone and avoid eating or drinking or messing with the stereo or GPS
  • Expect to come across bicyclists and motorcycles and give them space
    • In Alabama, drivers must give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space as you pass them.
  • Watch and listen out for motorcycles
  • Don’t tailgate a cyclist or motorcycle
Categories: Alabama News, Local News