SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – As Oregon weather turns warmer, drivers should expect to see more motorcycle and moped riders. By intentionally looking for riders, drivers can reduce the potential of a “Looked But Failed to See” crash, the Oregon Department of Transportation advised Wednesday.
Gov. Kate Brown has proclaimed the month of May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, urging all drivers to look for riders. The proclamation also encourages riders to ride in a courteous, legally compliant manner, which can reduce some risks associated with riding motorcycles and mopeds.
To highlight these safety tips, ODOT has displayed short messages on variable message signs throughout Oregon, promoting awareness of riders to drivers and encouraging riders to ride in a predictable manner.
National motorcycle crash data from 2019 shows that “there were 2,495 fatal two-vehicle crashes each involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 41 percent (1,034) of these crashes, the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcycles were going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles.”
Many drivers state during the post-crash interview that they simply did not see the motorcycle or moped rider. Here are some strategies to help drivers and riders avoid these preventable crashes:
- Specifically search for motorcycles when driving – you "see" what you look for. This also works for “seeing” pedestrians and bicycle riders.
- Know that it may be harder to determine if you have enough time to complete your turn in front of motorcycles due to their size and headlight configuration.
- Minimize distractions while driving, divided attention reduces the likelihood of seeing motorcycles.
- Follow the posted speeds to ensure drivers’ expectations and judgements are accurate and to ensure you can stop if necessary.
- Maintain a lane position and following distance from other vehicles that ensures visibility to all drivers.
- Wear protective clothing that contrasts with your background and ensure that your headlight is on.
- Practice your emergency stops, ride within your own abilities, and always ride sober.