The first day of spring was this past Saturday, March 20. With the first day of spring upon us, it is important to recognize some of the changing scenes of the area. With the increasing temperatures, less snow and ice and more open roads, many motorcyclists are going to start putting the rubber to the pavement.
As a motorcyclist, Spring rings in one of my favorite times of the year. It is that time of year when the leaves are beginning to bud on the trees, the animals are beginning to come out and life can be seen all around; and, in my opinion, there’s no better view of life’s tapestry than from the saddle of a motorcycle.
There is something therapeutic about being able to cruise down the highway and see the world at-large. Viewing the world from the saddle of a motorcycle offers a different perspective; there are no windows to look out of, no barrier between the road and the rider, just the rider and the open road. It is freedom in one of its rawest forms.
Though motorcycle riding can be euphoric, there are a lot of hazards and much to be aware of. Too many motorists are killed in accidents every year, and a good sum of them are motorcyclists.
In 2020, Wyoming had 128 fatality accidents. Of the 128, 17 were riding motorcycles. Of the 17, only seven used helmets. Nationally, the most up-to-date records are for 2018. In 2018, 36,560 people were killed in traffic collisions with 4,985 motorcyclists killed.
According to data obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash.
Many times, accidents involving motorcycles and cars occur on town and city streets. Part of the reason for this is because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than a car or truck and are easily overlooked. Additionally, motorcycles can be easily concealed by other vehicles. Often, vehicle drivers will overlook them when they check traffic before turning at an intersection.
When entering an intersection, especially to turn, taking some time to check and double-check the oncoming traffic lane can prevent many motor vehicle accidents for not only cars and trucks, but especially motorcyclists. Avoiding distractions, double-checking blind spots and keeping constant awareness of the road and those who share the road can prevent these collisions.
For the motorcyclists among us, we can help with cutting down these numbers as well. Always wearing a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet with a face shield and protective eyewear can help protect a person from receiving severe head injuries in the event of an accident.
Wearing protective clothing shields the rider in the event of an accident. A rider wearing protective clothing will have less contact with the pavement and will sustain less injuries and road rash in the event of an accident. Dark colored clothing, especially blacks, browns and greens can blend in with the surrounding environment, effectively camouflaging the rider from other motorists. Consider wearing a reflective vest or bright clothing.
Lastly, consider leaving more space between you and other motorists. Extra space between motorists means more reaction time in the event of an unseen hazard. Providing a cushion between motorcycles and other vehicles, especially large trucks, allows motorcyclists an opportunity to take evasive action should an issue arise with the surrounding traffic.
Remember, the roads are shared by all. Let’s do our part to keep all Wyoming highways and roadways a safe environment for all. Let’s make it a goal to get those fatality numbers down.