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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in North Carolina

When a motorcyclist is involved in a collision, he or she lacks the protection that an automobile offers to its passengers. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcyclist is 37 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than a person in a passenger vehicle is.

Because motorcycle accidents present the very real threat of serious injuries or death, North Carolina authorities are promoting motorcycle safety awareness this month.

During the first nine months of 2010, motorcycle fatalities actually declined about 2 percent compared to the first nine months of 2009 with 80 fewer deaths across the country. However, a recent spike in fatalities is giving safety advocates pause for concern.

Despite the downward trend in the first part of 2009, the rate of fatal accidents for motorcyclists increased 3 percent during the last three months of the year and the upward trend appears to have continued into 2011.

In order to prevent motorcycle accidents, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has released some safe driving tips for drivers and motorcyclists. The foundation encourages both drivers and motorcyclists to give each other plenty of room on the roads and highways. Drivers, especially, should give motorcyclists extra room when following a motorcycle. This is because motorcycles can stop much more quickly in dry conditions in the event of an accident. Extra following distance can prevent a rear-end collision.

Drivers are cautioned to remember that motorcycles are motor vehicles with all of the rights and privileges of the road. Drivers should always allow a motorcycle plenty of room and they should never try to share a lane with a motorcyclist.

Many motorcycle accidents happen when a driver does not see the motorcycle coming. All too often, this happens because a driver did not adequately look for motorcycles. Drivers should always check their mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles around them before making turns or lane changes.

Source: ENC Today, "National report, recent rash of local motorcycle wrecks worries public," Wesley Brown, 4/23/2011

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