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Be mindful of motorcycles while driving

Matthew Lane • May 24, 2020 at 7:45 PM

KINGSPORT — As the weather gets warmer, expect to see motorcyclists out in force enjoying a ride on the streets and highways of our region.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for local and state law enforcement departments to remind everyone about the vulnerability of motorcycle riders.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month across the nation, and the Kingsport Police Department, in partnership with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, wants you to know the importance of sharing the road and looking twice for motorcycles.

Simply put, all motorists need to know how to anticipate and respond to motorcyclists to avoid crashes.

According to the THSO, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and five times more likely to be injured.

Furthermore, according to preliminary data, there were 2,701 motorcycle crashes in Tennessee last year. Of those crashes, 166 were fatal.

SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT A CRASH

• Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.

• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.

• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling.

• Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.

• Always allow ample following distance — three to four seconds — when driving behind a motorcycle.

TENNESSEE MOTORCYCLE LAWS

• A safety helmet is required to be worn by motorcyclists.

• The daytime use of the headlight is required.

• The motorcyclist must wear eye protection unless his/her motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.

• Lane splitting is not legal in Tennessee.

• The motorcycle must be equipped with both a left and right side mirror.

• Mufflers are required on motorcycles. Cutouts are prohibited.

• If the motorcycle is transporting a passenger, then it must be equipped with passenger seating and a passenger footrest.

Source — Tennessee Highway Safety Office

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