During Motorcycle Awareness Month, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety wants to remind motorists and motorcyclists alike to “Watch for Motorcycles” in order to help prevent motorcycle crashes, deaths and injuries on Missouri roadways.

“Preliminary reports indicate that 13 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities in 2020 involved a motorcycle, with 117 motorcyclist lives lost,” said Jon Nelson, executive committee chair of the coalition. “One life is too many. We want to remind all drivers to slow down, pay attention and look twice for motorcyclists when changing lanes or entering a roadway. We also encourage our motorcyclists to wear proper safety gear, ride at an appropriate speed and never ride impaired.”

In Nodaway County, motorcyclists have been out and about in significant numbers since the first of  May. In Maryville, residents need to keep an eye out not only for motorcyclists but also for scooters.

“Watch for Motorcycles” yard signs are available for free at the Nodaway News Leader, 116 East Third Street, Maryville.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

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

• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.

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

• Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists must also take precautions to remain safe on the road. Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

• Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.

• Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed and trained.

• Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.

• Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.

• Never ride distracted or impaired.

• Anticipate the moves of other drivers and be extra cautious of road conditions and debris.

• Motorcycle experts recommend motorcyclists also complete some type of training before getting out on the road. Beginning to advanced rider courses are available. The closest sites are: Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods, 2601 NE Barry Road, Kansas City, 816.379.8439, and The Safety Center, LLC, 4804 D. Noland Road, Kansas City, 816.379.8439.