The month of May has been declared as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month... in the United States of America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just recently posted its annual reminder to spread awareness among motorists in the US to look twice for a motorcyclist every time on the road.
According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or MSF, motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise an average of 10-percent per year over the last 20 years, and although motorcycles account for only less than 5% of registered vehicles in the US, they travel a total of 21 million miles (33.6 million kilometers) per year. The NHTSA also reported that “per vehicle traveled, motorcyclists were more than 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash.”
Meanwhile here in the Philippines, motorcycles account for a whopping 71% of our total registered vehicle population, or 18.8 million units. However as of this writing, no agency within the Philippine government is campaigning or pushing for Motorcycle Safety Awareness. In fact, just last March 8, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law what motorcycle riders dubbed as “Doble Plaka Law”, which aims to put additional identification (front number plate) on motorcycles and harsh penalties (including jail time) for violators to curb criminality brought about by riding-in-tandem hoodlums.
“Motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. This means they are entitled to their space on the road, no matter the size of their ride.” said the NHTSA. Drivers of all other vehicles are reminded by the NHTSA to “share the road” with motorcyclists and to be extra alert to keep motorcyclists safe. The USA also enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act, which among its statutes, directed the Secretary of the Department of Transportation or DOT (our LTO's counterpart), to develop and provide to the States model language for use in traffic safety education courses, driver’s manuals, and other driver’s training materials instructing the drivers of motor vehicles on the importance of sharing the roads safely with motorcyclists.
There are also other countries that seriously promote Motorcycle Safety Awareness. In New Zealand, their summer begins in September and that's also their Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In Australia, they have a “Look out for motorcycles” during their Motorcycle Awareness Month every October.