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Patrol, ODOT highlight motorcycle safety


LIMA, Ohio (May 24, 2019) – It’s National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and an important national holiday is upon us.

With travel on area highways being part of most everyone’s Memorial Day holiday, the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1 are reminding motorists and motorcyclists to watch out for each other.

During the past five years, more than 18,000 motorcycle crashes occurred on Ohio’s roads, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. As a result, 804 motorcyclists died and more than 15,500 were injured. Crashes spike in the spring when the weather warms.

Sgt. Brincefield, with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Van Wert post, rides a motorcycle in his off time. He offers a valuable perspective from both the side of law enforcement and as a pleasure rider going into a holiday weekend.

“As a fellow motorcyclist, I enjoy the same euphoric experience as others while in the saddle; however, with wind therapy also comes danger. Take it upon yourself to ride smart, use proper gear, and be responsible. To non, two-wheeled motorists, remember: look twice — it can literally save a life,” said Brincefield.

ODOT takes special precautions in construction zones for motorcyclists, said Chris Hughes, deputy director for ODOT District 1. Rumble strips along the shoulder of four-lane highways, which provide an audible sound and vibration to the driver as they leave the driving surface, are filled when traffic must be shifted onto the shoulder for road work. “We do that whenever we can specifically for motorcycles,” said Hughes. Voids in the pavement which would be minor for passenger vehicles are addressed as soon as possible, and sections of uneven pavement are eased.

“When maintaining construction zones, we always think about the needs of motorcycles because they handle the highway much differently than most passenger vehicles. If we can make the zone safe for motorcyclists, it is safe for all vehicles,” said Hughes.

ODOT’s maintenance crews are out daily monitoring highways, removing debris and checking for deficiencies in the pavement. Intersections are swept at least twice during the year, curb areas are cleared and standing water near drainage structures are swept. “Any loose debris or water on the highway poses a risk to motorcycles and that’s what we’re most concerned with,” said Rod Nuveman, highway management administrator for ODOT District 1.

Last year, 102 total crashes involving motorcycles occurred within the eight-county region of ODOT District 1 resulting in 75 injuries and four fatalities.

ODOT District 1 includes the counties of Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot.

Motorcycle Operator Safety Tips

  • Motorcycle operators should be licensed and take a Motorcycle Ohio training course.
  • Operators should use a DOT approved helmet with faceshield, gloves, jacket, pants and boots to maximize safety in case of an accident.
  • Using the motorcycle’s headlight at all times and wearing bright colored clothing will maximize visibility for other drivers.

General Safety Tips

  • Never operate a vehicle or motorcycle while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Use a three to four second following distance when behind a motorcycle to allow them room and time to maneuver in case of an emergency.
  • Always signal lane changes and turns to help other drivers anticipate changes in traffic.
  • Remember that minor inconveniences for most vehicle operators such as wet roads, gravel, pot holes, railroad tracks and grooved pavements can become major road hazards for motorcycle operators.
  • Grass clippings on roadways also pose a threat to motorcycles. Once they become wet, they can become slippery. Homeowners are advised not to throw grass clippings onto any roadway.
  • Drivers should check all blind spots before turning, passing or entering an intersection to be certain that there are no motorcycles within the blind spots.

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