Missouri group kicks-off campaign to cut down motorcycle fatalities

10 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago May 01, 2016 May 1, 2016 Sunday, May 01 2016 Sunday, May 01, 2016 4:19:00 PM CDT in News
By: Katie Grunik, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - As warmer weather brings more motorcyclists onto mid-Missouri roads, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety kicked off its motorcycle awareness month Sunday to educate drivers and motorcyclists about road safety. 

The coalition said the month-long campaign targets all road users to prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries on Missouri roads. 

"Approximately 11 percent of Missouri traffic fatalities in 2015 involved a motorcycle, with 92 motorcyclist lives lost" said Bill Whitfield, executive committee chair of the coalition. "We want to see that number decrease this year by reminding all drivers to follow basic safety rules and never drive distracted or impaired."

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation crash data, 261 motorcyclists died in crashes from 2012 to 2014 in Missouri with just under 13 percent of those fatalities for people between the ages of 21 and 25.  MoDOT data also shows 34 motorcyclists seriously injured and 4 fatalities in Boone County between 2012 and 2014. 

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety offered safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for both drivers and motorcyclists who share the roads. It advised drivers to prevent deadly crashes with motorcyclists by allowing a motorcycle the full width of a lane, always signaling when switching lanes or merging into traffic, and to never drive distracted or impaired. 

The NHTSA advised motorcyclists to take necessary safety precautions including wearing a helmet or other protective gear, obeying all traffic laws, having proper licensing and training, wearing brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility, to ride in the middle of the lane where a motorcyclist is more visible, and to never drive distracted or impaired. 

The coalition recommended all motorcyclists complete some type of training, offered at 31 sites around Missouri. The closest site to Boone County is listed in Warrensburg. 

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