Greater Awareness Needed to Reduce Motorcycle-Crash Deaths

motorcycle accident

Fatalities from all types of motorcycle accidents fell in Missouri and across the nation in 2013, according to preliminary estimates.

Missouri reported 62 deaths from motorcycle crashes in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 90 in the same period of 2012, a 31 percent decrease, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Even so, too many riders are seriously injured or killed in accidents that could be prevented if other motorists would pay attention.

In March, two motorcyclists, Matthew Adam of Bowling Green, and Jacob Boedeker of Warrenton, were killed in a collision with a school bus on Highway A in Wentzville. The two motorcyclists, along with a third rider Adam Meyer of Warrenton, were traveling southbound about 6:40 a.m. when a bus driver leaving the school bus depot tried to make a left turn onto the highway and apparently travelled into their path. Meyer was not hurt. The bus did not have any students aboard at the time of the accident.

Most motorcyclists are aware of the inherent dangers of motorcycling and are safety conscious, obeying traffic laws and speed limits. Often when they are in accidents with other vehicles, it is because the other motorists failed to see them.

During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds all drivers to “share the road” to keep all drivers safe and watch out for motorcyclists..

Weather also might have been a factor in the lower number of fatal crashes. Several states, including Missouri, reported cooler and wetter weather in the first few months of 2013, making it less likely that people were riding than in 2012 when it was warm and dry.

Nationwide, the association estimated that motorcycle traffic fatalities fell 7 percent in 2013 from the previous year, marking only the second time since 1997 that they have decreased.

Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges on the road as other drivers.

The NHTSA encourages motorists to:

  • Avoid driving while distracted.
  • Remember that motorcyclists have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any motorist.
  • Give a motorcycle a full lane width instead of trying to share a lane.
  • Be careful not to misjudge the speed and distance of a motorcycle simply because it is smaller than other vehicles.
  • Check both mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, because motorcycles can be hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Turn on your blinker before changing lanes or merging with traffic to let motorcyclists anticipate your move.
  • Avoid letting a motorcyclist’s flashing turn signal fool you. It might not have canceled on its own.
  • Allow a motorcycle in front of you the time to maneuver during an emergency situation. The rider might need to change speeds or lanes suddenly to avoid potholes, gravel, slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings or other hazards.

The Governors Highway Safety Association encourages long-term measures to reduce motorcycle fatalities. It urges states to encourage greater use of helmets, reduce driving under the influence and speeding, train motorcycle riders and make sure they’re licensed and promote steps for sharing the road.