In his manifesto against motorcycle helmet laws in the Chicago Tribune last week, columnist Steve Chapman listed a number of actions people can legally take to endanger their health: smoking cigarettes, eating fast food, and living among bears. Chapman then…
As we enter the second full week of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, most of the focus thus far has been on distracted driving for motorists. But while distracted driving led to 6,000 driver deaths and 500,000 driver injuries in 2009, it is a dangerous practice for all types of vehicles, including busses, bicycles, and motorcycles. So to cut down on distracted driving motorcycle accidents, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has announced its full support for Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a list of “10 Things All Car and Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles and Motorcyclists.”
The MSF is right to be concerned about distracted driving. It’s incredibly dangerous for car drivers, and motorcyclists aren’t even protected by the same metal and glass frame. “Distracted driving is of great concern for motorcyclists as we simply have more at stake,” said MSF President Tim Buche. “Riders are obviously more vulnerable than car or truck drivers, the ones with far more access to a variety of distractions. Most motorcyclists are focused on one thing: riding. Other motorists should be focused on driving.”
In addition to the list of what to know about motorcyclists, the MSF plans to conduct a “100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study” to mirror a similar study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which found that distracted driving is a factor in more than 22 percent of all traffic accidents. The MSF study will “combine unobtrusive, continuous data collection with post-incident interviews” for 6 to 18 months to determine more clearly the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Motorcyclists are notoriously reluctant to accept motorcycle safety regulations, like state-imposed helmet laws. But, as evidenced by its stance on distracted driving, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a strong record when it comes to advocating for smart decisions on the road. The group is equally smart when it comes to state motorcycle laws. “Wearing a helmet, no matter what the law says, is a reflection of your attitude toward writing,” MSF writes on its website. “And that attitude is plain to see by other riders and non-riders alike. To ride a motorcycle means avoiding foolish risks.” Translation: just wear one. And while you’re at it, don’t drive distracted. Share your thoughts in the comments section, or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: ElvertBarnes