Sunshine and warm weather trigger the inevitable motorcycle riding season in Indiana.
The period poses hidden dangers for both the rider and drivers of other motor vehicles.
Those dangers can lead to serious injury and death to motorcycle enthusiasts around the state. In fact, 89 motorcyclists died on Indiana roadways in 2009.
Recent Indiana motorcycle fatality data indicates about 49 percent of the motorcycle operators were not properly licensed and nearly 65 percent were not wearing a helmet.
Alcohol was a factor in about 31 percent of motorcycle crashes.
To promote safety during the onset of the riding season, the month of May is nationally declared as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
The event is geared toward increasing awareness and bringing together law enforcement, motorcycle riders and the motoring public to make highways a safer environment for everyone.
Ensuring public safety through crash reduction efforts is a primary mission of the Indiana State Police.
Therefore, troopers will be enforcing all hazardous driving and operator licensing violations as they pertain to motorcycle drivers and other motorists.
The Indiana State Police has offered safe driving tips so that everyone can share Indiana roadways safely.
Tips for passenger vehicle include:
* Watch attentively for motorcycles.
Check blind spots before switching lanes and look twice at intersections before turning or pulling out into traffic,
* Anticipate hazards that may confront a motorcyclist like large pot holes, debris, or generally poor road conditions.
Allow at least two seconds of following distance between the vehicle and a motorcycle,
* Be cautious when turning left. This is when a majority of crashes between vehicles and motorcyclist occur,
* Share the road. Remember, motorcyclists are entitled to operate in a full lane, and
* Obey all traffic laws, especially as they relate to using turn signals when switching lanes and yielding to other vehicular traffic.
Tips for motorcycle riders include:
* Wear protective equipment and clothing, especially a helmet with face shield,
* Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing, using reflective tape; the motorcycle's headlight should be illuminated night and day.
Always use turn signals when switching lanes and turning,
* Check the motorcycle before each ride and do not ride if any equipment is not operating properly,
* Look for road hazards.
Be especially cautious around intersections, alleys, driveways, and other areas where an animal, pedestrian, or vehicle might enter the path,
* Avoid riding in other vehicles' blind spots,
* Have plenty of room.
Never tailgate and leave enough time to react to unexpected movements from other vehicles,
* When operating a motorcycle during inclement weather, slow down and use extra caution.
Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed, and
* Attend and complete an approved motorcycle operators safety course.