FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
Motorcyclist Safety: It’s a Two-Way Street
NEW INITIATIVES TO SHARE THE ROAD LAUNCHED FOR CARS, TRUCKS and MOTORCYCLES
Rise in Fatalities in Motorcycle Crashes Prompts Action
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD (April 26, 2013) – Today, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) partnered with the Prince George’s County Police and members from the motorcycle riders community to announce a new awareness campaign intended to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities on Maryland’s roads. The announcement took place in Prince George’s County on MD Route 4, a hotspot for motorcycle crashes and aggressive riding.
Maryland was cited in a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association as one of 34 states where motorcycle fatalities increased last year. The Association reported, yesterday, that preliminary data showed a 9% increase nationwide in motorcycle deaths in 2012. Motorcyclist deaths are at an all-time high, the Association added, and no progress can be shown over the last decade in reducing the deaths.
While total traffic fatalities in Maryland have fallen by twenty-three percent in the last ten years, motorcycle fatalities have increased twenty percent. Last year, 75 motorcyclists were killed in Maryland traffic crashes. More than 1,500 riders and passengers are injured in motorcycle crashes each year in Maryland.
As warmer weather brings more motorcycle enthusiasts to Maryland’s roads, safety is particularly important. “The number of motorcyclists killed each year is unacceptably high,” said John Kuo, MVA Administrator and Governor O’Malley’s Highway Safety Representative. “Drivers and riders need to understand that they are both responsible for sharing the road safely. Follow the rules of the road, avoid distractions and control your speed.”
Prince George’s County leads the state in motorcycle-involved fatalities and ranks third for motorcycle crashes. The region’s heavy congestion, aggressive riding, speeding and distracted driving mix with the popularity of motorcycle riding to increase the number and severity of motorcycle crashes. A motorcyclist is six times more likely to be injured and 27 times more likely to die in a crash according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Seven of the 10 fatal motorcycle collisions in Prince George's County last year were the fault of the motorist. According to Maryland police crash report data, in a collision involving a motorist and a motorcyclist, the driver is more likely to be at fault. While speeding and aggressive driving by some motorcyclists contributes to the problem, drivers of motor vehicles also have a responsibility to safely share the road.
“Our 10 motor cycle fatalities in 2012, in fact are 17% below our average over the last several years. We can, however, do better in Prince George’s County. And we can do better in Maryland,” said Chief Mark Magaw, Prince George's County Police Department.
“No matter who is at fault for the crash, the motorcyclist always loses,” said Anthony “Fifty” Green, a founding member of the largest coalition of motorcycle riders in the Washington metropolitan area. “We don’t have a frame or a bumper to protect us. My body is my crumple zone. We are asking drivers to put down the cell phone and to look twice before making turns or changing lanes. It could save someone’s life.”
To respond to the increase in motorcycle-involved fatalities, the MVA convened a new Maryland Motorcycle Safety Coalition, with members from motorcycle organizations and clubs, state and local law enforcement, motorcycle dealerships, motorcycle safety training centers, emergency medical services, state and federal agencies and the military. The coalition recommended the development of a new outreach campaign focused on a simple message: Share the Road.
Throughout the motorcycle riding season, billboards, highway message signs, radio and web advertisements, MVA vehicle registration envelopes, banners at MVA branch offices and motorcycle dealerships, and motorist-awareness yard signs throughout the state will remind everyone that riders and drivers need to share the road. Additionally, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will use its overhead highway signs to alert drivers and riders.
“We are committed to reaching riders and drivers alike with the Share the Road message,” said Administrator Kuo. “We are on a mission toward zero traffic deaths, because even one motorcyclist lost is one too many.”
Featured in today’s event were the Prince George’s County Police’s Special Operations Helicopter, which is used in aggressive motorcycle enforcement, motorcycle safety coalition members/riders, the MVA’s motorcycle safety simulator and mobile classroom. The event was hosted by the Prince George’s County Police, the MVA and representatives from the Washington metropolitan area motorcycle rider’s community.