Safety on Two Wheels
Motorcycle collisions have led to two deaths in Howard County recently -- what can the police, and drivers, do to keep safe?
With top speeds approaching 200 mph, high-performance motorcycles zooming past cars have become a regular sight on highways, and to police and rescue crews.
May was Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but the debate of how to keep riders -- and the vehicles they share the roads with – safe, is ongoing. Particularly, according to Chief William McMahon, when it comes to high-performance motorcycles
“That’s something we struggle with,” McMahon told a group of residents at the Citizens Advisory Council meeting last week.
“We don’t chase them, frankly, because we can’t catch them,” he said.
Tell us in comments: What do you think should be done to increase motorcycle safety?
On May 21, 45-year-old Gary Alan Lynch died when his motorcycle went off the road in Marriottsville and on May 30, 25-year-old Devan Cheatham Jones died when his motorcycle collided with the car in front of him in Ellicott City
Just last Sunday, another motorcycle driver was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma after a collision in Elkridge.
When thinking about motorcycle safety, McMahon said that one of his go-to sources is Bob Henig, owner of Bob’s BMWs in Jessup. Hennig’s blog mentions safety often, and has a post dedicated to Motorcycle Safety Month.
“ATGATT – All the gear all the time!” the post reads. “If you’re going to ride, you must be prepared for anything and that includes the possibility of accidents. All it takes is one time not wearing quality gear to learn the importance of ATGATT … if you’re that lucky.”
There are also links to safety courses in Howard County and around the state.
For tips on how to be safe on a motorcycle, and how to safely share the road with them, visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or read these 10 tips from the Maryland MVA. They are geared toward car and truck drivers, but are a good reminder to motorcyclists of the mistakes they sometimes make, including:
- Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
- Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off.
- Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
- Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle's better characteristics, but don't expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
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