SAUGUS — May is both National Bike Month and Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Saugus Police Department would like to offer the following tips to help keep motorcyclists and bicyclists safe as they share the road with other vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), In 2021, there were 5,932 motorcyclists killed, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities. NHTSA data show that this is the highest number of motorcyclists killed since at least 1975. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2021, motorcyclists were about 24 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.

To help motorcyclists stay safe, the Saugus Police Department would like to share the following tips from the NHTSA:

  • No one should drive a motorcycle without obtaining the proper training and license.
  • Riders should practice operating their motorcycle to get a feel for how it accelerates and handles.
  • Riders should check their tire pressure and tread depth before every ride, and also check the hand and foot brakes, headlights, signal indicators, and fluids.
  • Passengers should only mount the motorcycle after the engine has started and should sit as far forward as possible, directly behind the driver, with both feet on the footrests at all times.
  • Not all states require motorcycle helmets, but they are by far the best hope you have of protecting your brain in a crash. The NHTSA recommends always wearing a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally in leather or heavy denim.
  • Riders should always obey traffic laws and signs, and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
  • Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Never weave between lanes.
  • Keep headlights on at all times to help increase visibility.
  • Never ride a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

To help bicyclists enjoy themselves while remaining safe, the Saugus Police Department would like to share the following tips from the National Safety Council:

For vehicle drivers

  • Vehicle drivers can help keep bicyclists safe by always checking over their left shoulder before opening their car door. This can help avoid collisions between bikes and car doors.
  • Vehicle drivers should also remain aware of their surroundings while driving, paying special attention to bicyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles. Safe riding requires cooperation from all road users.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging, and allow more distance when driving behind a motorcycle.

Plan to be seen

  • Wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright clothing
  • Whenever possible, ride during the day
  • If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights

Follow the rules of the road

  • Bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists. Get acquainted with traffic laws.
  • Ride single file in the direction of traffic
  • Remain alert, keep your head up and look around; watch for opening car doors and other hazards
  • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections
  • Never hitch onto cars
  • Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder

Wear a helmet at all times

Adult riders and children should wear a helmet certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To ensure a helmet fits properly:

  • Adjust sizing pads or fit ring until the helmet is snug
  • Position the helmet level on your head, covering the forehead and not tipped backward or forward; this will be about one to two finger widths above the eyebrow
  • Adjust the side straps so they form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of your ears
  • Center the buckle on the chin strap under your chin
  • Buckle and tighten the chin strap until it is snug; no more than one to two fingers should be able to fit between the chin and strap
  • When fitted, the helmet should not rock more than 1-inch side to side or front to back on your head

Always check your equipment before riding

  • The seat should be adjusted to the proper height and locked in place
  • Make certain all parts are secure and working properly
  • Check that the tires are inflated properly
  • Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes
  • A horn or bell, a rear-view mirror and a bright headlight also are recommended

For more information on motorcycle safety, click here.

For more information on bicycle safety, click here.