Organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month takes place every May and is designed to encourage all drivers and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other, something that always seems to be on the ‘must improve’ list.
Professional truck drivers spoke with the Williamsport, Pa. chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association about how motorcyclists can stay out of truck blind spots and offered other safety tips. The meeting was organized through the American Trucking Associations and ATA's Share the Road Highway Safety Program.
"Motorcyclists and truck drivers understand that due to the unique qualities of their vehicles, they must remain vigilantly committed to safety at all times in order to keep our roads safe," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "As part of Motorcycle Awareness Month, ATA's Share the Road program is working with motorcycle groups to educate all motorists on the importance of safely sharing the road with trucks and motorcycles."
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight.
Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually.
"Like motorcyclists, truck drivers find a certain level of comfort and enjoyment while out on the highway," said professional truck driver John McKown, who works for UPS Freight. "With that said, we need to take every safety precaution possible and teach each other about our vehicles so that we can continue to take advantage of the nation's roads."
ATA's Share the Road professional truck drivers compiled a list of truck safety tips for motorcyclists looking to stay safe this driving season.
- Space is time, and time saves lives: At 65mph, trucks and motorcycles are traveling almost 100 feet per second. It takes a fully loaded tractor-trailer more than the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. Maintain a safe distance in front of trucks.
- Look for the driver in the mirror before beginning to pass. If the driver can't see you, then he or she has no way of knowing you are there.
- When passing, never linger alongside a truck. Due to large blindspots on all sides of a truck, it becomes easy for a motorcycle to become invisible to a truck driver.
- When riding behind a truck, maintain at least a 4 second following distance. Stay far enough back to see the driver's mirrors. This gives you enough time to maneuver around debris and react to emergencies.
- When riding as a group in a stagger pattern, it is safest to pass the truck in single file, staying to the far side of the lane.
- When possible, avoid passing on the right side. The right blindspot is the largest blindspot and runs the length of the truck, extending out three lanes. Pass on the left.
- Always wear a helmet. It is estimated that 1,699 motorcyclists' lives were saved by a helmet in 2012.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatalities are 26 times more likely in motorcycle crashes than in car crashes. ATA and ATA's Share the Road highway safety program are committed to improving safety between trucks and motorcycles.
Other meetings are scheduled similar to the one held last with other chapters of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. Chapters in Dalton, Georgia and Billings, Montana again aim to bring attention to the need for cooperation and dialogue between professional truck drivers and motorcyclists.
This initiative has been working with motorcycle safety for many years, as can be seen by the older video featured below.