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MAPFRE Motorcycle AwarenessAs the weather warms up, more motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are out on the roads. May also happens to be Motorcycle Awareness month, so it’s important to “Share the Road.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), informs that, sadly, motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities. In fact, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.

MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance encourage safe driving practices throughout the year, but want to take this opportunity to remind motorists that it is essential to focus full attention on the roads. Even the smallest momentary lapse in a driver’s awareness can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), provides several tips for motorists:

  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: a motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
  • Allow more follow distance—three or four seconds—when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust their lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.

Sharing the road also means having heightened awareness for pedestrians. NHTSA reported that in 2016 alone, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes – a 9-percent increase from 2015, the highest number of deaths since 1990. Both motorists and pedestrians must remain alert. Motorists should resist the temptation to look at one’s smartphone or adjust the radio. As a pedestrian, wearing headphones or using cell phone earbuds could lead to disaster if you don’t hear a car horn or miss a stop-signal at a crosswalk.

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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