The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking drivers and motorcyclists to be mindful of each other as more motorcyclists take out their bikes for spring.
As temperatures get warmer, MODOT expects the number of motorcyclists on Missouri's roadways to increase significantly.
"As motorcyclists, it's our responsibility to make sure we see other people, but cell phones and texting are all deterrents," said Motorcyclist Kurt Luebbering. "But cell phones and texting are all deterrents, so it's important for people in cars and trucks to watch out for people on bikes."
With the month of May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, staff at the Missouri Department of Transportation want drivers to be mindful of the increasing numbers of motorcyclists on the road.
Chris Luebbert of MODOT said if drivers follow basic safety precautions regarding motorcyclists, many types of accidents can be prevented.
"Don't follow too closely, use signals when changing lanes," Luebbert said. "Be respectful of them. They have the same rights as other roadway users."
Luebbert said he recommends drivers heed the following precautions in order to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:
- Don't text while driving. Never ride distracted or impaired.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Luebbert also said motorcyclists can take steps to avoid collisions as well, including wearing brightly colored clothes and reflective tapes and riding in the middle of the lane to increase visibility.
According to MODOT, 72 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2013, down from 102 in 2012.
If motorcyclists and drivers work together on the roadways, Luebbert said it could drive that number even lower.
"Watch your blind spots," Luebbert said. "A motorcyclist might be in your blind spot and you might not even see them because they're such a small object compared to other vehicles in the road."