Whether you own a motorcycle or prefer to pedal your way around, May is for you! It’s both National Bike Month and National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
When it comes to bikes of all kinds, it’s important for motor vehicle drivers to share the road and remember that bikers have a right to ride in travel lanes. It’s also important for motorcycle riders and cyclists to adhere to the rules of the road. And everyone should keep safety in mind when travelling — whether you’re driving a car or motorcycle, or riding a bicycle.
Before we get into some safety tips, here’s a bit of background on both awareness campaigns:
The League of American Bicyclists sponsors National Bike Month every May to showcase the many benefits of cycling and to encourage more people to get on a bicycle. This year the League is launching National Ride a Bike Day, which will be held the first Sunday each May. National Bike to Work Week is May 17-23 this year and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 21. Visit the league’s website to learn more about Bike Month and related events.
National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month serves as a reminder that motorcyclists and other drivers need to do their part to keep our roads safe for all users. Motorcycle riders continue to be overrepresented in fatal crashes. Based on vehicle miles travelled, motorcycle riders are about 27 times more likely to be killed in a crash than people in passenger cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in crashes.
- Go with the Flow – While pedestrians should walk against traffic, cyclists should always follow the flow of traffic.
- Avoid Distractions – Just as you shouldn’t drive or walk while using your cell phone, you should hold that call or text until after you’re done cycling. Remember: Heads Up, Phones Down.
- Obey traffic laws and lights – Just as pedestrians must wait for the walk, wait until you have the green light before entering an intersection.
- Wear a helmet – It could save your life.
- Stay alert – Be aware of obstacles and look out for turning vehicles that may not see you.
- Check before you ride – Make sure your brakes are working and your tires are properly inflated before heading out. If you have quick release wheels, make sure they are properly secured.
- Signal – Use hand signals when turning.
- Make noise – NJ requires that cyclists be equipped with a bell or other audible device that can be heard at least 100 feet away.
- Riding at night? Use a light – it’s the law in NJ.
Click here to check out the New Jersey Bicycling Manual for more information.
- Wear a helmet and consider using a Department of Transportation-compliant one, they’re more likely to protect your head.
- Avoid Distractions – Hold that call or text until after you’ve parked your motorcycle. Remember: Heads Up, Phones Down.
- Obey traffic lights, signals, speed limits and lane markings.
- Check behind you and signal before changing lanes.
- Proceed cautiously at intersections and yield to pedestrians.
- Wear reflective materials when riding at night.
- Ride sober — 25 percent of riders who died in crashes in 2018 were alcohol-impaired, higher than any other mode.
- Before you ride, check your tire pressure and tread depth, breaks, headlights, signals and fluid levels.