The phrase, “Sorry, I didn’t see you” is such a common refrain following a motorcycle collision that the acronym SIDSY is known to many riders. The Start Seeing Motorcycles campaign has been around for a number of years now. It is far past time that drivers of passenger cars and trucks take the message to heart. Motorcyclists have the same right to use the roads as any driver. Whether a driver takes the time and effort to be aware of other vehicles, two-wheeled and otherwise, is the difference between negligence and safe driving. It is also the difference, in far too many cases, between life and death for riders.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Motorcycle safety awareness is a topic that deserves more attention from riders and non-riders, alike. Some issues, like riding sober and driving at safe speeds, are geared toward motorcycle operators. Others, like taking care to check for motorcycles before changing lanes or, particularly, making left turns are for motorists. Greater awareness of motorcycle safety and the mistakes that often lead to motorcycle accidents is vital to promoting safer streets and preventing deadly accidents.
Motorcycle safety awareness demands an understanding of why motorcycles wreck and what can be done to eliminate or reduce these crashes. A surprising percentage of fatal motorcycle accidents involve a single problem: motorists turning left in front of oncoming motorcycles. The SIDSY phenomenon largely centers around this problem. The increase in distracted driving, often tied to ubiquitous cell phone use, is only making this type of crash more likely. Drivers need to learn to spare more than a glance when turning across oncoming lanes of traffic. Motorcycles are smaller than semi trucks. They are not invisible.
Florida is home to hundreds of fatal motorcycle accidents every year. Before May is over, take some time to think about motorcycle safety. If you are a rider, review what you can do to make yourself safer. If you drive a passenger vehicle, consider what changes you could make to better share the road with motorcycles. In the end, a little thought could help you avoid a tragedy that could change, or end, your life.
Source: NHTSA, “May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” May 2016