OHS Urges Motorcylists to Respect Your Ride and to Ride Safe and Ride Smart After Three Motorcycle Fatalities In One Week

Dover –  The first motorcycle fatality of the year occurred in Dover on April 2nd and was quickly followed by a double motorcycle fatality in Newark on April 4th.   According to Police reports, excessive speeding, no driver’s license (no motorcycle rider training), and failure to yield are factors in these crashes.  The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is urging motorcyclists to Respect Your Ride by ensuring they have the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license, slow down, and operate their bikes defensively in order to prevent further needless loss of life.

OHS is also urging drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles to be on the lookout for, and share the road with, the increased motorcycle traffic on Delaware roadways.  Motorists should look twice before pulling out into an intersection and check your mirrors before changing lanes for motorcyclists. Police agencies will continue motorcycle enforcement in April, June, July, August, and into September, including Delmarva Bike Week Sept 13-17.

Increased public awareness efforts as part of OHS’s Respect Your Ride motorcycle safety awareness campaign includes placing billboards, 60 second radio ads, and online ads targeting both motorists and motorcyclists with “Share the Road” & “Respect Your Ride” messages throughout the state.

Officers from nine State and local police agencies conducted stepped up traffic enforcement patrols as part of the first of 6 waves of enforcement for the motorcycle safety campaign Respect Your Ride. More than half of the citations were for speed violations.  The enforcement effort, aimed at preventing traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities ran from March 23 to April 1.  The next wave of enforcement will begin April 13th.

Officers issued 114 citations for speeding, 23 seat belt citations, 2 failure to stop at signal/sign, recovered 1 stolen vehicle, apprehended 2 wanted persons, and issued 39 other traffic citations that included 1 citation for no eye protection (cyclists), and 1 for no motorcycle license endorsement.

Both locally and nationally, the number of registered motorcycles has been steadily increasing in the last few years.  In Delaware, motorcycle deaths have also been on the rise since 2001, and hit an all time high in 2005 when 21 motorcyclists died in crashes.  Though that number dropped by almost half in 2006, it rose again in 2007, when 17 cyclists were killed and again in 2011 when 18 cyclists were killed.

When the motorcyclist is at fault in a crash, it is often the result of speed, alcohol use, lack of training or inattentive driving.  Surprising to many people, the average age of motorcyclists killed in crashes is 46, not a younger operator.  When the driver of a passenger vehicle is at fault it is often because of inattentive driving, following too closely, or making a left turn into the path of the motorcyclist saying, “I didn’t see him/her.”

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in the event of a crash.  Research shows that approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while only 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in their vehicle.

OHS is offering the following safety tips for both motorists and motorcycle operators:


  • Follow posted speed limits and keep all wheels on the ground at all times
  • Do not try to share a lane with a vehicle, stay in your own
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
  • Never drink and ride
  • Watch out for loose sand, gravel, debris, and uneven and textured surfaces
  • Do not pass on the shoulder
  • Suit up for Safety – wear not only a helmet, but also appropriate eye gear, long sleeves, over the ankle boots and reflective material when riding at night
  • Keep your skills up to date by signing up for a DMV Motorcycle Training Course, either beginner or advanced


  • 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 allow a motorcyclist the full lane width;
  • 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; Never tailgate.


For more information on the Motorcycle Training Courses visit www.MotorcycleSafetyDE.org.