FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Joyce Gillard||MVA Motorcycle Safety|
MAY 4th KICKS OFF MARYLAND'S MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH
Awareness Needed Because Maryland is Still Losing Too Many Lives on Motorcycles
GLEN BURNIE, MD (April 30, 2009) -- Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month kicks off Monday, May 4, 2009 in Maryland with the somber awareness of the loss of more motorcyclists each year. In 2007, the most recent year for which the data is available, there were a total of 1,841 motorcycle-involved crashes and 96 people lost their lives. There has been a steady increase in the number of motorcycle-involved crashes over the past five years. From 2003 to 2007, the increase in crashes has risen almost 40%. In 2006, 87 people died in motorcycle crashes, up from 52 who lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in 2002.
“Motorcycle safety and awareness is a two-way street,” said Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Administrator John T. Kuo. “With milder temperatures there are more motorcycle riders on the roads and all of us have a responsibility to do our part to ride and drive safely.” During the month of May the MVA will reach out to motorcyclists and motorists to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. Excessive speed, on the part of the motorcycle rider, continues to be a significant problem in crashes. Drivers also contribute to crashes by being inattentive and failing to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist.
Valuable information will be distributed throughout the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Offices on Monday May 4 to kick off Motorcycle Safety Month. All MVA employees and visitors will receive flyers and brochures reminding vehicle operators and motorcycle riders to drive and ride safely. The Maryland State Highway Administration, ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, Maryland’s largest motorcycle rights organization, that advocates for motorcycle safety and awareness) and the Maryland State Police will be on hand to share current motorcycle safety information and crash data.
“This year’s motorcycle season already has opened in tragedy,” said Maryland State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative Neil J. Pedersen. “With the majority of fatal crashes being attributed to driver or operator error, lives can be saved if we each make the right choices on the road and Choose Safety for Life. It starts by looking out for each other, traveling a safe speed and sharing the road.” Motorist awareness and motorcyclist safety messages are being promoted throughout motorcycle safety month, through television and radio public service announcements, on highway message signs, billboards, and banners and at special events across the State.
"We understand that riders and motorists both have a responsibility to drive and ride safely. But in a collision between a car and a motorcycle, the motorcyclist loses," said Neal Ackerson, State Director of ABATE of Maryland. "Distracted and inattentive drivers aren't just a nuisance, they are a real threat. So we need drivers to look twice for motorcycles. It might just save my life." Last year, a new law increased the penalty for drivers who violate the right-of-way of motorcyclists or other road users and cause a serious injury or death.
On Thursday May 7th, the Glen Burnie MVA branch will host “Fast Track Licensing,” an initiative geared to highlight the importance of safe motorcycle operation and encourage licensure for all motorcycle operators. The awareness continues with a special “Bikes In A Branch” event at the MVA offices in Annapolis, Bel Air, Cumberland, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown and Salisbury. These displays will showcase the latest in sports bikes, cruisers and touring bikes. The Safe Motorcyclist Awareness and Recognition Trainer, a computerized on-road training simulation, will be setup at all locations as well. In the Glen Burnie and Frederick offices, demonstrations on the proper protective gear every motorcyclist should wear will also be on display.
“The Maryland Vehicle Administration has one of the best motorcycle safety programs in the country, but we are still losing too many motorcyclists in too many crashes in Maryland,” added Administrator Kuo.
For more information on Maryland Motorcycle Safety Month log onto the MVA’s website, www.marylandmva.com, and follow the link under “What’s New”. Additional Maryland motorcycle safety campaign materials can be viewed at www.choosesafetyforlife.com.