Stepping up awareness

Stepping up awareness

Posted by Ben Baker on Nov 30th 2016

Campbell County, VA, is a dangerous place if you ride a motorcycle. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, 130 wrecks have happened in the County since 2006.

13 riders died.

Not much news there. Dying to Ride crunched some numbers. In the US, the rate is 72.34 wrecks per 100,000 motorcycles. The cage wreck rate is 13.10 per 100,000.

But someone is at least doing something visible about it. A big yellow “WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES” sign got posted on a road with a lot of biker traffic. American Bikers Active Toward Education (ABATE) of Virginia lobbied for the sign and other efforts to increase motorcycle awareness in the state. Allstate Insurance provided money for the signs through the “Once is Never Enough” (ONE) campaign.

It’s one sign on Timberlake Road near a motorcycle dealership.

The insurance company has put up 170 signs in 20 states since 2012.

Four went up this past spring in Las Vegas where two streets intersection The City of Las Vegas said that intersection was the busiest and also had a lot of motorcycle traffic.

Allstate says its ONE program is aimed at helping “protect riders by working to eliminate the number of motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles at intersections and to encourage drivers to look twice, because once is never enough.”


Efforts to step up awareness and make it safer to ride are accelerating across the nation. A golf tournament in mid-November in Tallahassee raised money for an awareness foundation named for a brother who went down and died.

In early November, a Cal State student was killed on a bike. That resulted in a campaign at the college and Orange County to step up awareness in the Golden State. The California Highway Patrol says motorcycle fatalities have gone up 175 percent in the last 10 years.

Most states a reporting a slow and steady increase in bike wrecks and fatalities.

South Carolina has seen an increase in fatalities. So far the Palmetto State has seen 119 riders die this year v. 83 for all of 2014. A legislature-created Study Committee of Motorcycle Usage and Safety is going to look into the matter to see what can be done to reduce fatalities.

Right now, Legislator Ralph Bell said a two-pronged approach is what he favors. Both lean heavily on education.

1. More training for bikers.

2. More awareness for car drivers.

“It’s not very easy to get the general public to watch out for motorcycles, and it’s not very easy to get older riders to take the training, but that’s where we need to go,” he said.

Iowa is one of the few places where crashes are going down. Motorcycle fatalities are down 10% compared to the previous four years, with 41 fatalities reported so far this year,” said AAA-Iowa spokeswoman Rose White.

Regardless of the state and the actual numbers, people who study the wrecks agree that distracting driving is the biggest cause of accidents. A major cause of distracted driving is cell phones.