Training improves motorcycle safety - May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 7, 2014

For more information, contact Sally Ridenour (503) 986-3359 ODOT Public Affairs

Governor Kitzhaber proclaims May 2014 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists will hit the roads. With that in mind, Governor Kitzhaber has proclaimed May 2014 "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month" in Oregon. Oregon is joining with motorcycle organizations and other federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations to raise awareness about motorcycle safety.

Unfortunately, 43 people lost their lives in motorcycle crashes in 2013 according to preliminary data from the Oregon Department of Transportation, down from 51 in 2012. Last year 73 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in Oregon were attributed to the motorcyclist committing the primary error leading to the crash.

Training improves safety
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, which has been delivering rider education for three decades.

"Congratulations to TEAM Oregon for 30 years of outstanding service to Oregon," said ODOT Transportation Safety Division Administrator Troy E. Costales." Riders of all ages are better prepared for the challenges of riding in our great state."

Currently, new riders between the ages of 21 and 60 must take either the Basic or Intermediate Rider Training course; that will expand to all riders no matter what age in January 2015. Those under 21 must take the Basic Rider Training course.

The hope is 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
During May – and the rest of the year – drivers should safely "share the road" with motorcycles and be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. 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.

"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, Motorcycle Safety Program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. "One simple thing motorcyclists can do to improve their safety is wear high visibility gear so they can be seen by other road users."

ODOT offers safety tips for drivers and motorcyclists:


  • Remember, motorcycles are vehicles with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
  • 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.
  • Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Don't tailgate.


  • 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 website -

ODOT's Motorcycle Safety Program website –

TEAM Oregon website –