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MassDOT, MAPFRE Insurance Reminder: Keep an Eye Out for One Headlight

April showers have brought May flowers, warmer weather, and increasing COVID-19 vaccinations across the state! Currently, 54% of Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated, and you may have noticed an increase in traffic during the past month as many head outdoors to enjoy the upcoming summer months. With this increase in traffic and warm weather comes an increase in motorcyclists on the roads. Because of this, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as any other motor vehicle operator on our roads. While motorcycling offers riders a sense of freedom, and a chance to reduce their carbon footprint, riding a motorcycle doesn’t offer the structural protection that a car does to keep riders safe in the event of an accident. Even the smallest momentary lapse in a vehicle driver’s awareness can result in the death of an unseen motorcyclist. In 2019, there were 5,014 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes in the U.S., which accounted for 14% of the total highway fatalities that year. Motorcycle crashes involving another motor vehicle continue to account for nearly half of all motorcyclist fatalities.

Safe riding and driving practices, plus cooperation from all road users, will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. Improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contributes to collisions, particularly with smaller vehicles like motorcycles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers the following tips for vehicle drivers to help avoid collisions:

  • When turning at an intersection with an obstruction, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users and proceed with caution.
  • Modify your speed when approaching a congested roadway to match that of the cars in traffic.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Share the road, but not the lane: A motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Allow more follow distance — three or four seconds — when following a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists should always remember to keep their safety as the top priority before hitting the road. Be sure to wear a DOT-Compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. According to NHTSA, helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. An additional 749 lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had word their helmets. To identify a safe, DOT-compliant helmet, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/motorcycle-safety/choose-right-motorcycle-helmet. All motorcyclists should never ride while impaired or distracted. It is not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else. Lastly, be sure to always drive with a current motorcycle license. It’s the law. In 2019, 30% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.

As you get out more and enjoy the spring, rest assured that 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

Written By:

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