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ShareTheRoad_LogoFor the past few weeks, Massachusetts residents have been adjusting to early phases of the four-phased reopening plan, which began on May 18th. Although many are excited to return to how life used to be, keeping yourself and others safe and healthy still remains a priority. Not only should residents continue to practice social distancing, hand washing, and face covering, but being aware of increasing traffic and motorcycles is vital to having a safe summer. 

With the start of reopening the state and the arrival of warmer weather, more motorists will be hitting the roads, including motorcyclists. One of the biggest annual events for motorcyclists is National Ride to Work Day, which takes place on June 15th, 2020. The purpose of the day is to increase awareness for those who ride motorcycles for transportation, and to show that motorcycles have the same rights as other vehicles. Many observe the holiday by riding their motorcycle or scooter into work. Motorcyclists are inherently at more risk than other vehicles because they lack many of the same safety features of automobiles. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists. Of these crashes, more than 70 percent occurred from May to October. There are steps that you can take to ensure safety on the roadways this summer. Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on Massachusetts roadways. Whether you are in a passenger vehicle or riding a motorcycle, always remember the following:

  • “Share the Road.” Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Never share the lane as the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. 
  • Always use your turn signals before changing lanes, merging with traffic, or taking a turn. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
  • Consistently make visual checks and be aware of your surroundings. Motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot due to their size. 
  • Allow more following distance when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. 

The focus of every driver, at all times, should be driving. Although many residents are eager to hit the road this summer, it’s important to keep in mind what risky behaviors can lead to crashes. Always avoid cell phone use when driving, and pay attention to the posted speed limits. Be mindful of your intake of alcohol and drugs if attending celebrations this summer. Impaired driving not only puts the driver at risk, it threatens the lives of passengers and all others who share the road. Commit to being a designated driver, or assign someone you trust to get you home safely. Lastly, remember to buckle up, every trip, every time, and stay alert while behind the wheel. 

Even the safest of drivers can find themselves in need of assistance, which is why the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is here to help with fixing minor mechanical problems, flat tires, fuel shortages, and emergency situations. The Highway Assistance Program drivers monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Cape Cod (seasonal). The Highway Assistance Patrol covers 13 major state roadways and interstates, the Emergency Service Patrol covers the Mass Pike (I-90) from New York to Boston and the Incident Response Operators cover the Metropolitan Highway System and tunnels. The Highway Assistance Patrol is in service Monday–Friday between the hours of 6 a.m.–10 a.m. and 3 p.m.–7 p.m. During holidays, there are extended routes in heavy traffic areas. On I-90, and in Boston’s tunnel system, assistance is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

 

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