JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased over the past decade. In fact, even though traffic fatalities as a whole are down in Missouri, motorcycle fatalities have nearly doubled in Missouri since 2004.
In an effort to decrease motorcyclist fatalities and injuries, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety has joined with other federal, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and motorcycle organizations in proclaiming May 2009 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
"Motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot so everyone needs to really look out for them," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Coalition. "We encourage drivers to share the road to make sure everyone Arrives Alive."
In 2008, there was a 13 percent increase in fatalities from 93 in 2007 to 107. An astonishing 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.
Missouri Tigers' football head coach and avid motorcycle rider, Gary Pinkel, is partnering with the Coalition to promote motorcycle safety. Paid radio advertising begins April 27 and runs into July. One radio spot features Coach Pinkel asking drivers to take another look and keep Missouri roads safe for everyone, "including Jayhawk fans." Coach Pinkel is also featured on his motorcycle on posters and billboards throughout the state.
"Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too," said Depue. "They should follow the rules of the roadway, be alert to other drivers, and always wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear."
Senate Bill 202, which would repeal Missouri's 40-year helmet law, is currently working its way through the legislature. If Missouri's helmet law is repealed, research shows fatalities and un-helmeted riders with traumatic brain injuries will increase significantly. A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study of 10 states found that when the helmet laws were repealed, helmet-use rates dropped from 99 percent to 50 percent and motorcycle fatalities increased significantly.
For more information on the Look. Learn. Arrive Alive. campaign, visit http://www.savemolives.com/
or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/saveMOlives