The Chattanooga Police Department will be partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to promote motorcycle safety during the month of May, which is nationally recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Agencies participate by providing information and increasing awareness in their communities about the importance of sharing the road and looking twice for motorcyclists.
"Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why it is the perfect time for us to remind the community about the vulnerability of motorcycle riders," said Traffic Sergeant Mike Ortel. "All motorists need to know how to anticipate and respond to motorcyclists to avoid crashes."
Here are a few safe driving tips to prevent crashing with a motorcycle:
• Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
• Always allow ample follow distance - three to four seconds - when driving behind a motorcycle. This gives riders more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
According to preliminary data, there were 2,772 motorcycle crashes in Tennessee last year. Of those crashes, 152 were fatal.