Editorial: Take care with motorcycles
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Nevada, and with the warm weather and rising gas prices, you can bet you’ll see more motorcyclists on our roads.
And that’s the point. Drivers need to see them. They’re small, easily hidden in a blind spot or missed when pulling out. It’s up to the motorists to look for them – you can bet they’re watching for you.
The number of motorcycle fatalities has increased 108 percent in Nevada from 25 in 2003 to 52 in 2004. In 2005, fatalities dropped by one, to 51.
The increase is a direct reflection of the number of motorcycles on the road. Nevada registrations for the two-wheeled machines have increased from 29,650 in 2000 to 50,000 as of this April, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The preliminary report for 2005 from the federal traffic folks projects the eighth straight year of increases in motorcycle fatalities.
Nationally, in 2005, 4,315 motorcyclists died, a 7.7 percent increase. In 2004, there were 4,008 motorcycle fatalities, the report said.
Overall, 43,200 people died on the road in the United States in 2005, according to the report.
Though we are urging motorcycle awareness, we are really lobbying for motorist safety. It is easy to be distracted while driving – by the radio, the cell phone, lunch in the passenger seat, the kids in the back or an accident on the side of the road. Don’t add drugs, alcohol or sleep deprivation to this deadly mix.
Do wear your helmet, your leathers and, for the four-wheeled folks, your seat belts. Helmets saved the lives of 23 people in 2004, according to the national highway administration.
The highway administration also estimates the 395 crashes in Nevada cost us $1.9 billion in 2004, or $800 each. Think of what you could do with $800, but not while you’re driving.
While you’re on the road, watch for motorcycles, bicyclists, pedestrians and each other.
While on the road, drive.
– From the Carson City Nevada Appeal.
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