Riding on the Winds of Safety

Lisa Robinson

Some view motorcycles as “cool” or “fun” and live for that energized feeling that comes from riding in the summer breeze. Others view motorcycles in much the same way as they view meditation or exercise and ride because they are searching to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.

Just as the reasons for riding are plentiful, so are the reasons for prioritizing safety.

Employers are positioned to impact the lives of employees and their family members through the implementation of driver and transportation safety programs. Employers also can potentially reduce fringe benefits costs by addressing off-the-job behaviors and regularly providing safety tips such as these:

For motorcyclists:

  • Wear a DOT-approved helmet with a protective face shield or protective eye wear
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including high-visibility clothing
  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Be awake and ride sober

For those sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • Use caution when turning
  • Pass with caution
  • Give them space

This is timely now because National Ride to Work Day is June 21 – just around the corner. Drivers need to respect motorcyclists, too. This means sharing the road. This means recognizing motorcycles are small and often hard to see, particularly when the roads are congested with bigger vehicles or a cyclist is momentarily lost in your blind spot. This means giving motorcyclists adequate space and following the rules of the road.

Last year, 482 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes in Texas and 1,856 were seriously injured. That’s more than one death and more than five injuries every day. Driver inattention, excessive speed and impaired driving are three of the most common crash-contributing factors. Likewise, there are three types of collisions in a crash:

  • Vehicle collision
  • Human collision
  • Organ collision

All are magnified in incidents involving motorcycles. They are not equipped with a protective shell like a car or truck and cannot absorb or deflect energy in crash. So, to level the playing field, we need to reiterate the importance of safe riding, safe driving and working together to make our roads safer.

We all have different definitions of “cool” but I think we can agree that is a good place to start.

– Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager at the National Safety Council