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An Annual Summer Concern in Ohio: Motorcycle Safety and Awareness

Although today marks the last day of the National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month campaign, the Ohio Highway Patrol is urging all motorists to keep the initiative’s themes and safety reminders centrally in mind, especially with the summer months approaching.

Summer brings optimal driving conditions for motorcyclists, and there is no other time of the year when Ohio roads are so clogged with riders.

That results, inevitably, in an increased number of motorcycle accidents and — given a biker’s comparative lack of protection — roadway fatalities.

The numbers are truly stark and sobering. In a recent two-year period, for example (between 2008 and 2010), more than 11,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in Ohio. Tragically, 542 riders died within that same period.

The Highway Patrol estimates that the motorcyclist was at fault in close to 70 percent of those accidents, and thus stresses rider awareness and proper training and equipment as the first line of defense against crashes. The agency insists on quality training and proper licensing, and further recommends that all motorcyclists were helmets, although state law mandates that only riders and passengers under 18 must do so.

About one out of every five citations issued to Ohio motorcycle riders relates to licensing problems, most often driving without a proper license or endorsement.

Troopers, too, are strongly focused on erratic driving behavior. The Highway Patrol states that alcohol is a factor in nearly 40 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes.

Related Resource: Chillicothe Gazette, “Ohio Highway Patrol: Keep eye out for motorcycles” May 14, 2011