Deputy: Riders and drivers should be aware

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the State Highway Patrol is reminding motorists and motorcyclists to safely share roadways.

According to a release from the State Highway Patrol, motorcyclists should ride endorsed, trained and sober, and motor vehicle drivers in turn should be aware of motorcyclists by watching out for them on highways, at intersections and anytime they are changing lanes.

According to the release, between 2010 and 2012, motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in 509 fatalities and more than 11,480 injuries in the state of Ohio. In 2012 alone, there were 165 motorcycle-related fatalities. Of the 165 fatalities, the motorcyclist was at fault 71 percent of the time, the release states.

Deputy Justin Nowak of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office said motorcyclists and drivers should be more aware of their surroundings, and drivers should especially do so on warmer days when motorcyclists are more likely to be on the roadways.

“Double check your intersections and make sure nobody is coming. Motorcycles are harder to see,” he said.

To make themselves more visible, motorcyclists can ride in pairs or groups, Nowak said.

According to the release, taking a training class and riding with proper endorsements can help protect motorcyclists and others from injury or even death. Out of the 8,571 citations the State Highway Patrol issued to motorcyclists between 2010 and 2012, 20 percent were for operating a motorcycle without a proper license or endorsement.

Riding sober is also important, according to the release. Between 2010 and 2012, 50 percent of the fatal motorcycle crashes involved an impaired motorcyclist.