To combat the alarming trend of rising motorcycle injuries and
fatalities, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters recently
announced a comprehensive new federal initiative to improve motorcycle safety
with more rider education and training, tougher standards for helmet
certification labeling, law enforcement training, and road designs that
consider motorcycle dynamics.
Secretary Peters - an avid motorcyclist - also released a television public service announcement (PSA) where she credits her riding gear for saving her life during a 2005 motorcycle crash.
"Take it from a motorcycle enthusiast who also happens to be the U.S. Secretary of Transportation," Secretary Peters says in the PSA. "Check your bike before each ride, wear all your safety equipment, and ride with others so you're more visible. If I hadn't taken those safety precautions, I wouldn't be standing here today."
With motorcycle rider fatalities now accounting for 11 percent of total
fatalities, and dramatically affecting the overall highway fatality
rate, Peters hopes the motorcycle safety initiative will create new
national safety and training standards for novice riders, curb
counterfeit helmet labeling so that consumers can be certain they are
buying DOT-certified helmets, place new focus on motorcycle-specific
road improvements, and provide training to law enforcement officers on
how to spot unsafe motorcyclists. In addition, Peters said, the plan
includes a broad public awareness campaign - including the PSA - on safe riding techniques.
Secretary Peters says she is one of the many "baby-boomers" who has recently returned to riding after years of shelving their bikes in lieu of family and careers. In August 2005, she suffered a broken collar bone after a crash on a two-lane highway just north of Tucson, Arizona.
View Secretary Mary Peter's PSA video.
If you've got lots of time, click here to read the complete action plan to reduce motorcycle fatalities.
By Brandy Schaffels