Ride Safe So You Can Ride Again: Michigan Highway Safety Office Launches New Motorcycle Safety Campaign

Motorcycle riders in southeast Michigan will soon see a first-time safety campaign aimed at preventing single-rider crashes, which account for nearly 45 percent of all serious injury and fatal Michigan motorcycle crashes.

Efforts to encourage passenger vehicle drivers to watch for motorcycle riders are well established. This campaign, sponsored by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), seeks to fill the gap with safety and skill messages designed to prevent crashes, especially those single-vehicle events.

According to a recent study from the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities declined nationally in 2009, following 11 straight years of dramatic increases.

Working with the Michigan Department of State, three key skills were identified that can be crucial for a motorcyclist to avoid a crash. Internet ads will speak specifically to:

--handling curves

--moving your eyes and head in the direction in which you want to turn

--proper use of the front brake

''Safety relies on many things,'' said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. ''This effort is the direct result of a careful study of crash data, focus groups with motorcycle riders and input from motorcycle safety instructors.''

Michigan 2006-09 crash data reveals:

The average age of motorcyclists killed is 43 years. More than 90 percent are men.

Almost half of all fatal motorcycle crashes occur in Wayne (18.6 percent), Macomb (6.2 percent), Genesee (5.9 percent), Kent (5.6 percent), Oakland (5.3 percent), Washtenaw (3.4 percent), and Livingston counties (2.8 percent).

80.5 percent of crashes occur on secondary roads, 28 percent at intersections and 19.5 percent on freeways.

45 percent are single-vehicle crashes. In these events, riders are most often failing to negotiate curves and leaving the road due to speed, improper braking and over-riding their skill level.

In the last decade, motorcycle fatalities have increased largely because of a surge in motorcycle ownership. Many riders are Baby Boomers who are newly entering or re-entering riding. In recent years, OHSP has helped purchase new motorcycles for state-sponsored training programs and provided funds to update rider coach training.

The campaign will feature federally funded cable TV advertising, billboards, and internet ads. With limited funding, the campaign will be focused in metro Detroit where the greatest number of motorcycle fatalities occurs.

The motorcycle video can be viewed at www. youtube. com /ohsp.

Published: Thu, May 6, 2010