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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (February 5, 2019) – Motorcycle fatalities appear to be on the rise in North Carolina according to recent data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and AAA Carolinas fears 2019 could be one of the most deadly years yet.

In 2018 there were 170 motorcycle deaths in the state of North Carolina – up almost 21 percent from 141 in 2017, according to NCDOT. AAA Carolinas is urging motorists and riders to practice safety and be more cautious when sharing the road.

“While we can’t say for certain why crashes and fatalities are up for motorcyclists, we speculate it could be a result of more distraction behind the wheel, including the use of hand-held electronic devices,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “With the spring driving season just around the corner, we want to remind everyone to be extra vigilant as more motorcyclists hit the road, because even the most minor of bump-ups to a vehicle can be deadly to a motorcyclist as they are not surrounded by any protection.”

Motorists can help make roads safer for motorcyclists by taking some simple precautions:

  • Be extra cautious on weekends, when motorcyclists take to the road.
  • Provide motorcyclists adequate room to maneuver. Follow at least five to six seconds behind them.
  • Allow extra maneuvering room in areas with potholes, pavement transitions and railroad crossings. Motorcyclists may need to slow down, stop or adjust their lane position
  • Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle. Motorcycles have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired. Put the phone down. Disconnect and Drive.
  • If a motorcycle is nearby, check your mirrors carefully before changing lanes. Motorcycles may be in your blind spots or difficult to see because of their smaller size.

One of the most common reasons drivers give for cutting off or pulling out in front of a motorcycle is that they “didn’t see it.”

Motorcyclists can prevent crashes and injuries by:

  • Keeping headlights, marker and taillights on at dusk and in dark or rainy weather.
  • Stay at least five to six seconds behind a vehicle they intend to pass, checking oncoming traffic from the left side of the lane, signaling the intention to turn and then checking for oncoming traffic before passing.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.
  • Checking their rearview mirror and quickly turn their head to ensure the vehicle is a safe distance behind them when completing a pass.
  • Wearing helmets that meet a high protection standard.
  • Wearing proper clothing, eyewear and sturdy, closed toe footwear.

AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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