Overview of motorcycle safety
In 2018, there were 59 motorcyclists fatalities in Massachusetts, accounting for 16% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities. Over 30% of fatalities were age 25-34.
From 2014 - 2018, there were 257 motorcyclists fatalities - 246 drivers and 11 passengers. Of the 246 driver fatalities, only 9% were found to be unhelmeted at the time of crash. None of the passengers were unhelmeted. Nationally, 60% of motorcyclists fatalities were found without a helmet.
Massachusetts has a mandatory helmet law and research by NHTSA has found that the use of motorcycle helmets in 2017 saved an estimated 1,872 lives and also saved nearly $3.5 billion in economic costs and $21 billion in comprehensive costs.
Motorcycle safety requires both the motorcyclist and driver of motor vehicles to share the road responsibly. Here are some tips for safely sharing the roadways of the Commonwealth:
- Allow motorcycles the full width of a lane at all times.
- Whether in a car, truck, or on a motorcycle - ALWAYS signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Allow more follow distance - three to four seconds - when behind a motorcycle. This gives the rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
- Motorcycle riders should wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
- Motorcycle riders should use both hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
- Motorcyclists should ride in the middle of the lane where they are more visible to drivers of motor vehicles.
Additional Resources for
Motorcycle education in Massachusetts
To help minimize the risk and maximize the fun of motorcycling, the Registry of Motor Vehicles sponsors the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP). The mission of this program is to reduce the number of motorcycle related fatalities and injuries in the Commonwealth by increasing the statewide availability of approved motorcycle training courses for motorcycle riders and to increase awareness and education for both riders and drivers.
Since 1990, more than 158,000 students have taken a motorcycle safety course. There are currently 12 Motorcycle Safety Schools operating at 27 different sites located throughout Massachusetts. MREP currently offers 3 license waiver courses and 5 additional courses to improve riding skills.
The benefits of taking a motorcycle safety course are:
- Professional introduction to motorcycling through the Basic Rider Course
- Sharpen riding skills through the Experienced Rider Course
- Get your motorcycle license / endorsement
- Save 10% (limited) on your motorcycle insurance
If you have a specific question concerning the motorcycle safety training please contact one of the Motorcycle Safety Schools nearest you. If you have any other questions or if you would like a brochure mailed to you, please contact the MREP Program Coordinator.