From staff reports
With Ohio Bike Week on the horizon, local officials are reminding drivers to share the road with motorcyclists.
The Sandusky Police Department joins federal, state and local organizations in proclaiming May as "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month."
Motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased over the past decade. Fatalities increased by 2 percent from 5,174 in 2007 to 5,290 in 2008, officials said.
"As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads," Lt. Robert VanScoy said. "And with that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers of all vehicles, including SUVs, passenger cars or trucks, need to be extra attentive and make sure you 'share the road.' A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot. Everyone needs to aggressively look for them."
VanScoy said a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a car or truck passenger in a crash.
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
Drivers should keep the following tips in mind:
n Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width; never try to share a lane.
n Watch for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
n Remember your signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic
n Allow at least three or four seconds in following distance when trailing a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to stop in an emergency.
n Never drive while distracted.
Motorcyclists can protect themselves by avoiding poor weather conditions, wearing brightly-colored protective gear and a helmet and using turn signals for every turn or lane change.