Motorcycle Safety Tips to Ensure a Safe Ride


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Sharon Gannon, BSN, RN

Two people wearing helmets riding on a motorcycle on a road during fall

In 2021, there 5,932 motorcyclists killed in the United States – the highest number of motorcycle fatalities since 1975.

Motorcycles account for just 3% of registered vehicles in the United States, but account for 14% of traffic fatalities. 

Research shows that more than 80% of all reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.

Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, but in 2021, 67% of motorcycle accidents occurred on urban roads, while 83% occurred in good weather. 

59% of crashes involved riders wearing helmets, while 50% occurred during the nighttime.

As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, here are a series of tips for motorcyclists and fellow motorists.

Safety tips for motorcycle drivers

  • Always wear a DOT-approved helmet. Helmets are 67% effective in preventing serious brain injury and 29% effective in preventing fatal injuries.
  • Consider attending the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP). Offered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the MREP offers education and training to novice and experienced motorcycle riders.
  • Be alert. Never drive impaired or distracted. Motorcycles offer little protection in a crash. Motorcycling takes balance, coordination, and good judgment. Use all your strength and senses to keep yourself safe.
  • Make yourself visible to other motorists. You can increase visibility by applying reflective materials to your motorcycle.
  • Check your motorcycle’s condition before riding. Check your tire pressure, tread depth, hand/foot brakes, signal indicators, and fluid levels.
  • Motorcycles with antilock brakes have a lower fatal crash involvement.
  • Daytime running lights (DRLs) help improve visibility to other vehicles. If you don’t have DRLs, keep your headlights on at all times to increase visibility.
  • Ride responsibly – don’t take risks and always ride defensively.

Motorcycle safety tips for fellow motorists

  • Always check your blind spots and be extra cautious when passing. Look twice and save a life! Motorcycles are everywhere.
  • Understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists to share the road responsibly. 
  • Maintain an adequate following distance to motorcycles. They often react more quickly than cars and rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal to the rider.
  • Bad weather has more drastic effects for motorcycle riders. Rain, winter weather, and wind can make motorcycling difficult. Increase your following distance and refrain from passing in poor weather.
  • Always use your signals to help inform motorcyclists and other motorists of your intention to turn.
  • Watch for turning motorcycles. Always take a second look when making a left turn.
  • Drive responsibly. As drivers and riders, we have the responsibility to share the road and take proactive measures to make the road a safer place for all.

This blog was written by Sharon Gannon, RN, South Shore Health Trauma Program Injury Prevention Coordinator.

Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.