May means more motorcycles: Be more alert


COLUMBUS — Warmer temperatures are drawing motorcyclists to Ohio roads. Historically, this also means an increase in motorcycle crashes. This month, during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, AAA is encouraging motorists and motorcyclists to take steps to prevent crashes and costly out-of-pocket expenses.

During the past five years, more than 18,000 motorcycle crashes occurred on Ohio’s roads, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol. As a result of these crashes, 804 motorcyclists died and more than 15,500 were injured.

Crashes spike in the spring when the weather warms.

“Everyone can do their part to safely share the road, especially between May and September, when motorcyclists are more likely to take advantage of good weather and go for a drive,” said Ed Conley, director of Insurance Sales and Financial Services for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “Before you take off on a warm day, it’s also a good idea to give your insurance agent a call to make sure your bike is properly insured.”

In addition, before hitting the road, motorcyclists should remember to:

Gear up: Helmets greatly reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash. During the past five years an average of 71 percent of the motorcyclists killed in crashes on Ohio’s roads were not wearing a helmet, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Be visible: Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you. Keep your headlight on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even in the daytime.

Be predictable: Use turn signals and avoid lane splitting, which is illegal in all states except California.

Never ride impaired: 26 percent of fatally injured riders in 2016 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Protect your assets: If you’ve done any work to your bike over the winter, or added any accessories, make sure you have enough insurance coverage for those items, as well as your helmet and leather, in case they’re damaged or stolen.

Drivers can help share the road by keeping an eye out for motorcycles. Be aware that they are back on the roads, so check mirrors and blind spots carefully before entering or leaving lanes.

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Staff report