Governor proclaims May "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month"

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May 1, 2015

For more information: Shelley M. Snow, (503) 881-5362 or Dave Thompson, (503860-8021


SALEM – Even though it’s been a mild winter, sunshine in the forecast and summer around the corner means more and more motorcyclists will be taking to Oregon’s winding roads. With that in mind, Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed May 2015 Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Oregon is joining with motorcycle organizations and other federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations to raise awareness about motorcycle safety. It’s part of a month-long emphasis on overall transportation safety which at different times will focus on work zone safety, occupant protection and pedestrian/bicyclist safety.

Motorcycle fatalities up in 2014

In 2014 in Oregon, 45 people lost their lives in motorcycle crashes, according to preliminary data from the ODOT’s Crash Analysis Unit, up from 31 in 2013. More than 75 percent of those fatal motorcycle crashes were attributed to the motorcyclist committing the primary error leading to the crash (based on preliminary information).

Studies show that with proper training and practice, these tragic crashes might have been avoided. Oregon is a national leader in motorcycle safety education, program administration and licensing practices. ODOT-approved motorcycle safety courses are provided by the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program, and all new riders must take either the Basic or Intermediate Rider Training course. Those under 21 must take the Basic Rider Training course.

Safety advocates hope that as more people go through training, the number of crashes will decline. According to ODOT data, very few trained riders die in motorcycle crashes.

Safety is everyone's responsibility

"It doesn't matter if you're on four wheels or two; we all have to do our part to share the road safely," said Michele O'Leary, ODOT’s Motorcycle Safety Program manager. "One simple thing motorcyclists can do to improve their safety is wear high visibility gear so they can be seen by other road users."

Drivers should safely "share the road" with motorcycles and be alert at all times when behind the wheel. Avoid distractions and watch out for motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear a helmet and highly visible gear.

Other safety tips for drivers and motorcyclists include the following:


  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Because of a motorcycle’s small size it may be difficult to predict how fast they are going. Allow extra time before turning or pulling in front of a motorcyclist.
  • Look once, look twice and then look again. They may be closer than you think.



  • Always wear a helmet and highly visible, protective clothing.
  • Allow time and space to react to other motorists or changing road conditions.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Don't speed.
  • Motorcycle rider training and education save lives. TEAM OREGON offers classes for beginner to advanced riders.
For more information about the law and motorcycle endorsements and training, visit DMV’s website,
For more about ODOT's Motorcycle Safety Program, visit
To learn about TEAM OREGON motorcycle training, visit


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