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May-13-2022 14:00printcomments

Heads Up! It's National Motorcycle Awareness Month

Motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles but account for 17% of all occupant fatalities in the U.S.

motorcycle awareness
ODOT is displaying messages on signs throughout Oregon promoting awareness of riders.
Photo by Matthew Clark, for

(SALEM, Ore.) - As Oregon weather turns warmer, drivers should expect to see more motorcycle and moped riders. By intentionally looking for riders, drivers can reduce the potential of a “Looked But Failed to See” crash.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Oregon and across the Nation. The Governor of Oregon urges all drivers to look for riders, and the National Safety Council (NSC) reminds both riders and drivers to do their part to keep everyone safe.

The proclamation also encourages riders to ride in a courteous, legally compliant manner, which can reduce some risks associated with riding motorcycles and mopeds.

To highlight these safety tips, ODOT has displayed short messages on variable message signs throughout Oregon promoting awareness of riders to drivers and encouraging riders to ride in a predictable manner.

National motorcycle crash data from 2019 shows that “there were 2,495 fatal two-vehicle crashes each involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 41 percent (1,034) of these crashes, the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcycles were going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles.”

Motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only 0.7% of all vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. However, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities and 4% of all occupant injuries in 2014, according to the NSC publication Injury Facts(R) 2017.

Many drivers state during the post-crash interview that they simply did not see the motorcycle or moped rider. Here are some strategies to help drivers and riders avoid these preventable crashes:


  • Specifically search for motorcycles when driving – you "see" what you look for. This also works for “seeing” pedestrians and bicycle riders.
  • Know that it may be harder to determine if you have enough time to complete your turn in front of motorcycles due to their size and headlight configuration.
  • Minimize distractions while driving, divided attention reduces the likelihood of seeing motorcycles.


  • DON'T speed
  • Maintain a lane position and following distance from other vehicles.
  • Practice your emergency stops, ride within your own abilities.
  • Drive Defensively
  • Use headlights day and night
  • Wear durable clothing that is bright and/or reflective as well as boots that cover the ankles.
  • Drive Sober.


Source(s): Oregon Department of Transportation; Lincoln County Sheriff's Office (Oregon); the National Safety Council; others


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