As the weather is warming up, more motorcyclists are being seen within our area. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Morristown Police Department (MPD) would like to increase awareness in the community about the importance of sharing the road and looking twice for motorcyclists.
For the year 2020, Hamblen County is ranked 23rd in the state for motorcycle crashes; this is slightly better than being ranked 20th in 2019. Last year, Hamblen County had 32 motorcycle crashes. In the city limits, there were 19 crashes involving motorcycles;18 people sustained injuries in those crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.
General tips to drivers on preventing a crash with a motorcycle are:
- Even though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, the operator still has the same rights of the road as any other motorist. Be sure to always allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane.
- Slow down behind a motorcycle; they can maneuver faster than cars and are more sensitive to changes in the surface of the road. Always allow more follow distance. Three to four seconds of distance will give operators more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Be cautious of a motorcycle with a blinker on, before proceeding make sure they will be turning. Motorists should always use their turn signal to allow others to anticipate your move.
- Be sure to check all your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and turning, especially at intersections.
MPD Chief Roger D. Overholt stated, “Morristown is a favorite pass through for many motorcyclists. We ask that all motorists to be alert to increased motorcycle traffic during the warmer months.” The MPD would also like to remind motorcyclists to wear a helmet as this is the best way to protect against severe head injuries in a crash and always ride sober.