Fulton County Safe Communities urges residents to heed motorcycles

Staff report

Fulton County Safe Communities is reminding motorists to be aware during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to help prevent motorcycle crashes, injuries, and deaths on Fulton County roads.

“Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect month for Motorcycle Safety Awareness,” Fulton County Safe Communities Coordinator Rachel Kinsman said. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise, and helmet usage is on the decline. All motorists need to know how to anticipate and respond to motorcyclists to avoid fatal crashes.”

Fulton County data shows that between 2017-19 there were 36 motorcycle-related crashes resulting in two motorcycle-related fatalities.

Kinsman said wearing a helmet is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe but all drivers play a part.

“It’s especially important for motorists to understand motorcycle safety challenges such as size and visibility, and riding practices like downshifting and weaving, to be able to anticipate and respond to motorcyclist behavior,” she said.

General tips on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle include:

• A motorcycle operator has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.

• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.

• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful – motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.

• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.

• Always allow more follow distance –three to four seconds –when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

• Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by taking the following these steps: wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear; obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed; use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn; wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility; ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers; never ride distracted or impaired.

“By following basic safety rules, we can all help prevent crashes,” Kinsman said. “Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe — always share the road.”

Staff report