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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and CTDOT Reminds Motorists to Share the Road and Be Alert

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is joining State and local law enforcement to share an important message about motorcycle safety: share the road and be alert. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and warmer weather means more motorcycles on the roads. So it is more important than ever to be extra cautious and on high alert for riders.

In Connecticut, more than 50 motorcyclists lose their lives on our roadways each year. In 2022, there were 62 motorcycle fatalities in the state, the highest number in over 30 years.

“The number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries in 2022 was staggering. We know that safe driving and riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of roadway crashes, injuries, and fatalities,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto. “Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable users on the road, with riders at greater risk of death and serious injury in a crash. We need drivers to drive sober, stay alert, avoid distractions, follow the speed limit, allow more follow distance, and be on the lookout for motorcycles.”

“Wearing protective clothing like leather pants, gloves, boots and jacket, even on warm days, offers protection in the case of a fall from the motorcycle. We also recommend wearing reflective clothing since it is often difficult for other motorists to spot motorcyclists on the roads. Always be visible,” said Connecticut State Police. “Motor vehicle operators also have a role in motorcycle safety. Be extra cautious on weekends when more motorcyclists are likely to take to the road. Provide motorcyclists adequate room to maneuver. As when following another motor vehicle, leave a reasonable distance, following at least three to four seconds behind the motorcycle or vehicle in front of you.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are an estimated 29 times more likely than people in cars to die in a traffic crash and four times more likely to be injured. There were 5,579 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2020, an 11% increase from 2019. According to NHTSA, in 2022, the last year of available national data, motorcyclist deaths accounted for 14% of the total highway fatalities in 2020.

CTDOT recommends the following tips to help keep people safe:


  • Always check your blind spots. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and can be even more difficult to spot while merging or changing lanes. Before merging, devote several seconds to searching each of your car’s blind spots before proceeding with your intended maneuver.
  • Be extra cautious when passing. Make sure to signal your intention to pass a motorcyclist by using your turn signal. Always ensure you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle before returning to your lane.
  • Remember that motorcycles react more quickly than cars. Make sure that you maintain an adequate following distance behind motorcycles. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal to the rider.
  • Be aware of the weather. Inclement weather has more drastic effects on motorcycle riders than on automobile drivers. Also, remember that weather conditions often reduce visibility and may cause motorcycles to be more difficult to see.
  • Nightriding. Help riders stay safe after dark by increasing your following distance, ensuring that your high beams are turned off when you notice an approaching motorcycle, and refraining from passing. If you are driving with your high beams on, you must dim them at least 500 feet from any oncoming vehicle, including a motorcycle.
  • Stay in your lane. Motorcycles are legally entitled to their own lane of traffic. In no situation are you allowed to drive your automobile in the same lane and in close proximity to a motorcycle. No matter how small these vehicles are or how much extra room there appears to be, sharing a single lane with a motorcycle is illegal and a recipe for a crash.
  • Inform motorcyclists of your intention to turn. Initiate your turn signal sooner than you normally would when you know a motorcycle is driving behind you.
  • Intersections are danger zones. Many vehicle accidents that involve both automobiles and motorcycles occur at intersections. Always follow the safety protocol for intersections every time that you approach one: come to a complete halt, view and obey posted traffic signs and signals, look both ways for approaching traffic, and proceed slowly.
  • Watch for turning motorcycles. Self-canceling turn signals became standard on motorcycles in the late 1970s. There are still many motorcycles on the road today that do not have the self-canceling turn signals that we are now accustomed to. If you notice that a motorcycle is driving with an activated turn signal for an abnormal distance, increase your following distance so you have time to react whenever the rider decides to turn.
  • Take a second look at left turns. Before you cross a lane or lanes of traffic to turn left, take a second look for approaching motorcycles. Vehicle accidents involving the collision of a left-turning car and an approaching motorcycle can be very severe.
  • A reminder to motorcyclists. Always wear protective gear and be sure to use a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet. Never ride while impaired and adhere to all traffic safety signs, signals, and laws.


For more information on motorcycle safety, visit nhtsa.gov.


Twitter: @CTDOTOfficial
Facebook: Connecticut Department of Transportation


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