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Motorcycle riders in the 6th annual Freedom Ride in 2013 travel in parade formation southbound on Maplecrest Road.

May is motorcycle safety awareness month

Statement as issued Thursday by the Indiana State Police:

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Indiana State Police remind all motorists and motorcyclists to share the road and practice safe driving habits.

Many serious and fatal crashes occur when motorists turn in front of motorcyclists. Be aware of motorcycles, especially at intersections and while making turns and lane changes. It is difficult to accurately judge the time, speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle. Before you drive through an intersection or make a left turn, check the position of oncoming motorcycles at least 2-3 times.

Troopers urge all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, 151 motorcycle fatalities occurred in Indiana during 2012. Of those fatalities, 122 people were not wearing helmets. Not wearing a helmet might save you two seconds, but it could cost you the rest of your life.

Construction zones and uneven road surfaces can also be a deadly area for motorcyclists. Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) encourage all motorcyclists to be extra vigilant while riding through these sites. Many roadways will be resurfaced over the next several months and motorcyclists should be aware of “edge traps,” which occur when one lane is higher than the other. An inexperienced or inattentive motorcyclist can easily lose control when encountering these “edge traps.”

Troopers offer the following safety tips for motorcyclists:

• Wear a DOT approved helmet and riding safety gear.

• Don’t consume alcohol while riding. During 2012, 36 motorcycle fatalities occurred in Indiana involving alcohol.

• Be visible. Ensure your headlight, taillight and brake light work properly.

• Wear high visibility clothing.

• Use lane positioning to increase visibility and watch for turning vehicles.

• Avoid riding in blind spots.

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