Two or four wheels must all share the road

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Alabama Law  Enforcement Agency (ALEA) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this month, reminding motorists it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure motorcyclist and cyclist safety.

National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and Bicycle Safety Month occur each May prior to the summer travel season.

“With Alabama’s scenic roadways and warmer weather fast approaching, both motorcyclists and cyclists increasingly take to the road to enjoy a relaxing ride,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. “However, these riders are some of the most vulnerable users on the road and are exposed to dangers those driving vehicles do not experience. All too often, we take for granted how fast a crash can occur. If everyone is vigilant and respectful to other riders and drivers when we are on the roadway, we can all do our part to keep all of our roadways safe.”

Email newsletter signup

This year, as ALEA prepared to launch the campaign, Troopers were and are still investigating fatal traffic crashes involving one bicyclist and one motorcyclist.

The Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS) at the University of Alabama statistics reveal that 44 individuals on bicycles were fatally injured between 2018 and 2022. Another 207 persons were seriously injured during the same time.

In 2022, 44 bicyclists and 95 motorcyclists succumbed to fatal injuries sustained in crashes. Between 2018 and 2022, 417 motorcyclists were killed and 2,248 serious injuries occurred during crashes.

A number of factors contributed to bicycle crashes during the reporting period, including “unseen objects/persons/vehicles,” improper crossing, improper lane changes or use and being on the wrong side of the road. Motorcycle crashes also presented a number of contributing factors such as aggressive operation, being followed too closely, traveling over the speed limit, “unseen objects/person/vehicles,” defective equipment, driving under the influence, traveling to fast for road conditions, and swerving to avoid an animal.

“Throughout the month of May the Agency will be sharing safety tips and spreading awareness of bicycle and motorcycle safety for all drivers and cyclists,” ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director, Colonel Jon Archer said, “We ask motorists to be especially aware of conditions around them, maintain a safe distance when following motorcycles, check their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and pay particular attention when making left turns across traffic.”

ALEA urges adults to review safety points with their family before leaving home:

Bicyclists and Motorists

  • Inspect tires and other equipment prior to leaving home to ensure all is in good working order.
  • Make sure to use helmets to reduce the likelihood of injury or death during a crash.
  • Travel in groups for higher visibility.
  • Look for bicycle lanes.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Avoid distractions like cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Watch for other motorists.
  • Be aware that grass clippings may be slippery and cause accidents.
  • Watch for small animals that may jump into the roadway or chase the biker.
  • Use reflective clothing or other items to ensure visibility.

Other Motorists:

  • Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
  • Expect cyclists.
  • The law requires motorists allow at least three feet of space when passing cyclists.
  • Watch for cyclists, especially those which may turn left at intersections.
  • Never tailgate a cyclist.