Foundation Urges Drivers to Unite to Reduce Rider Deaths

By: Correy Putton

In connection with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) release of the 2006 Preliminary Fatality and Injury Assessment, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is urging all drivers to have an important role in helping to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes on America's roads and highways.

"The overwhelming number of motorcyclists who wind up in single-vehicle crash statistics are there because they aren't following basic but important safety precautions when riding," said Tim Buche, the president of the MSF.

He added, "And fewer than half of all riders have taken any kind of formal training course. We also know that car drivers and other motorists are at fault a majority of the time in multiple-vehicle crashes that involve a motorcyclist. We have life-saving messages for everyone, whether they are behind the handlebars or behind a steering wheel."

For motorcyclists, the MSF has important messages to convey. The foundation advised them to get trained and licensed. They could take an MSF RiderCourse and get licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. They are also advised to wear protective riding gear all the time. The gear must always include a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation standards.

Another important message is to ride unimpaired or without the influence of alcohol and drugs. The foundation also said that motorcyclists should ride within their limits. They do not have to ride faster or longer than their abilities allow them to. Riders could regularly return for refresher course to brush up on skills and knowledge.

MSF, a not-for-profit organization, also advised car drivers to always look out for motorcyclists and other drivers. They should use their eyes and mirrors to see what is around, MSF said. Drivers should not be distracted. When driving, they should hang up and drive, put down the food, the pet, the personal grooming gear, the MP3 player, and the reading material and save it for later.

The foundation also advised drivers to give two-wheelers some room. Car drivers should not tailgate or get too close to the next vehicle. could not save them in case of a collision. The drivers are also advised to turn signals to communicate.

Another piece of advice is to keep it in the car. Occupants must not throw trash out the window. Cargoes must also be kept secured inside the car. Trash and cargoes can fall out on the road and become a deadly hazard.

"All of these are all doable, real-world actions that will cut down crashes and fatalities right now," Buche said. "Above everything else, it's about the human element, the attitude, the mind-set that motorcyclists and motorists have, and the choices they make out there on the road."

Since 1973, the foundation has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. It has established partnerships with state agencies, the federal government, the military as well as other companies and organizations to offer training for all skill levels.

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