May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP) would like to remind motorcyclists to ride trained and sober. Also, motorists should be aware there will be an increase in motorcycles on the roadways with the warmer weather.

In Ohio for 2016, motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in 194 fatal crashes, which is an increase of 45 percent since 2014. Another 3,768 crashes resulted in injuries. Only 25 percent of the motorcyclists killed in crashes were wearing helmets. Ohio requires helmets for riders under 18 and drivers with less than one year of motorcycle experience. Passengers on motorcycles must wear helmets when the driver is required to do so.

Motorcyclists can help protect themselves and others from injury or death by taking a training class and wearing safety equipment. Of the 1,829 citations the Patrol handed out to motorcyclists in 2016, 23 percent were for operating a motorcycle without a proper license. Riding sober is also very important. Last year, 38 percent of the fatal crashes involving motorcycles were alcohol and/or drug related.

Of course, motorcycle safety is not solely the responsibility of motorcyclists. Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings and other vehicles sharing the roadway. Motorists should keep in mind:

  • A motorcycle is a motor vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway.
  • Give motorcyclists a full lane of travel.
  • Look for motorcyclists on the highway, at intersections and any time you are changing lanes.
  • Allow plenty of space in front of the vehicle you are driving and do not follow a motorcycle too closely.

Ohio Motorcycle Crashes

  • In 2016, 4,235 motorcycle-related crashes occurred on Ohio roadways, an increase of 16% since 2014. These crashes include 194 fatal crashes (up 45% since 2014) that killed 203 people (+44%). Another 3,768 people were injured in these crashes. Overall, 79% of motorcycle-related crashes resulted in an injury or death.
  • Motorcycle drivers were at-fault in 65% of fatal motorcycle-related crashes in 2016 and 54% of motorcycle crashes overall. Forty-six percent (46%) of fatal motorcycle-related crashes involved only the motorcycle (40% in all motorcycle crashes).
  • In 2016, 9% of motorcycle-related crashes involved alcohol and/or drugs. This was nearly twice the rate of non motorcycle-related crashes (5%). Thirty-eight percent (38%) of fatal crashes involving motorcycles were alcohol and/or drug related.
  • In 2016, only 25% of motorcyclists killed in crashes were wearing helmets. Ohio only requires helmets for drivers under 18, drivers with less than 1 year of motorcycle driving experience or passengers on motorcycles where the driver is required to wear a helmet.

OSHP Motorcycle Traffic Stops

  • OSHP troopers made 2,989 traffic stops involving motorcycles in 2016. Of these, 1,829 (61%) resulted in a citation while no enforcement action was taken in the other 39% of stops.
  • Of the 1,829 citations written, 61% included a speed violation. Twenty-three percent (23%) of citations issued had a charge of driving without a valid driver license or motorcycle endorsement. Only 5% included an OVI charge.

Ohio Motorcycle Registrations

  • In 2016, 416,478 motorcycles were registered in Ohio. This number has remained virtually unchanged over the past 3 years.

For more information visit www.motorcycle.ohio.gov.