Watch Out for Riders: Tips on sharing the road

 According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, approximately 100 motorcyclists are killed and more than 2,500 are injured each year in Wisconsin traffic crashes. Last September, Wisconsin saw a total of 314 crashes resulting in 17 fatalities and 267 injuries.


This weekend, drivers may experience an increase in motorcycle traffic due to the annual Northwoods Fall Ride in Tomahawk, WI. Whether driving or riding, it’s important that everyone is extra cautious and alert while on the road.


Motorcycle crashes often occur when a car or truck driver changes lanes, turns left, or pulls out in front of a motorcycle. Because of their size, motorcycles are more difficult to see, especially in blind spots.


“Motorcycle crashes can be fatal. Cars provide a layer of protection that a motorcycle doesn’t have when in an accident. Some of the more common injuries motorcyclists can suffer in a crash are traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, lacerations, broken ribs, facial disfigurement, and internal bleeding”, says Dr. Jeffrey Wild, Aspirus Wausau Hospital Trauma Medical Director. “The patients that recover from their injuries, often require immediate hospitalization and rehabilitation for weeks or months following a crash.”


Over each of the past four years, Aspirus Wausau Hospital (AWH) has seen increased emergency room visits related to motorcycle injuries during the weekend of the Tomahawk Fall Ride.


While on the roads, keep in mind these tips to ensure the safety of both riders and drivers this coming weekend.

  • Share the road. No matter how small the vehicles are or how much extra room that there appears to be, never share a single lane with a motorcycle. It can result in a serious accident and is illegal.
  • Communicate intentions. Look twice for other vehicles and use turn signals to help inform riders of anticipated movements on the road. Give others adequate time to slow down and break by turning on blinkers and gradually coming to a halt.
  • Always check blind spots. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and can be even more difficult to spot while merging or changing lanes. Take extra time to search for other vehicles and scan blind spots.
  • Be cautious of night riders. Help riders stay safe after dark by increasing the distance between vehicles. Ensure high-beams are turned off when noticing an approaching motorcycle and refrain from passing. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal to the rider.
  • Buckle up, put the phone down and avoid distractions. Use a seat belt every trip and put the phone down when driving. Avoid any activity that takes the drivers eyes off the road.

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