Be aware of motorcycles on the roads


Life is full of seasons. Not just spring, summer, fall and winter.

The “real” seasons, like Coat Season, Barbecue Season, Football Season. And for many central Ohio residents, Motorcycle Season.

A few might be willing to brave the wintry chill for the chance to hit the open road, but most wait until the days turn warmer and the weather becomes a little more predictable before pulling off the cover and topping off the tank.

From the indications on the road, the season has arrived.

It’s a time for both drivers and motorcycle riders to exercise a little extra caution. For those behind the wheel of a car or truck, remember motorcycles can be easily hidden or hard to recognize because there are so many more cars and trucks on the road.

Because of their size, motorcycles can also seem farther away than they really are. Just because they are more maneuverable than cars doesn’t mean motorcycles can easily get out of the way of other vehicles.

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, more than half of fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle — and often the other driver, not the motorcyclist, is at fault.

That doesn’t mean motorcycle riders don’t have to exercise caution as well. Although they are on the road just a portion of the year, motorcycles account for about 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Nationwide, more than 4,680 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number reflects an increase, which authorities believe is a result of more people taking to two wheels because of gas prices.

The problem this has created is some of those riders lack the experience the road brings. Others might have ridden a motorcycle in the past and think it’s as easy as jumping on and taking off. Motorcycle riding is a perishable skill, though — meaning even the most experienced rider can benefit from a refresher course. Many places offer such courses geared to experience and skill level.

Wearing the proper safety gear is important, too. That includes high-visibility clothing, eye protection and a helmet. Protective body wear, such as boots and gloves, may seem uncomfortable, but can prevent serious injury or death.

Share the road, share the fun and enjoy the season.

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