Keep safe around, on motorcycles

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. We urge all motorist to “share the road” with motorcycles and keep an extra alert for those on bikes.

Remember to “look twice, save a life.”

At the same time, motorcyclists are reminded, they, too, need to make themselves visible to other motorists. They, too, need to drive safely.

Rules of the road are there for all of us – no matter the type of vehicle you chose to drive. Be cautious.

As with all motorists, drive sober. Always observe the law when it comes to drinking and driving.

In addition, we also urge motorcyclists to wear helmets.

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, 40 percent of those who ride motorcycles do not wear helmets. That figure was the same in both 2012 and 2013, down 6 percent from the 2011 survey.

Wearing DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets – those meeting federal safety requirements – save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2010, 42 percent of motorcyclists who were fatally injured were not wearing a helmet. Helmets saved more than 1,500 riders’ lives, but about 700 more lives could have been saved if all riders had worn helmets in 2010.

The NHTSA reports, on average, states with a universal helmet law save eight times more riders’ lives per 100,000 motorcycle registrations each year, compared to states without a helmet law, and save three times more riders’ lives per 100,000 motorcycle registrations each year, compared to states with a partial helmet law.

Unfortunately only 19 states have laws requiring helmet use – West Virginia being one of them. Ohio has a partial law for those under age 18 or licensed less than a year. Pennsylvania’s helmet law is for those under age 21 or less than 2 years licensed, unless an approved safety course has been completed.

The most important thing to remember, for all motorists, is to be cautious on the roadways. Follow the rules of the road.

And please, although it is your choice in Ohio, we urge motorcyclists to consider wearing a helmet while either operating or as a passenger.

We don’t want anyone to become a negative statistic.