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Why Some Motorcycle Safety Awareness Campaigns Are Ineffective

Is Motorcycle Awareness Enough to Save Lives?It has been nearly two years since the federal government released the final report called the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS). NAMS contains 82 recommendations for motorcycle safety in the 21st century.

Today, Let’s Focus on Just One: Education of Other Drivers

One of the recommendations in the NAMS report is: “Educate operators of other vehicles to be more conscious of the presence of motorcyclists.” According to the report, states, local municipalities, and riders’ groups should share in this endeavor.

Educating other drivers is important because other drivers may have little experience with motorcycles, they might not expect motorcycles on the road, and they may overlook them and cause catastrophic accidents.

The report recognizes that many states, municipalities, and groups have conducted awareness campaigns with the goal of educating drivers before. However, the effectiveness of these specific campaigns has not been studied and, according to NAMS, these motorcycle awareness campaigns share many of the same characteristics as other ineffective traffic safety campaigns.

Some of the things that make motorcycle safety education and awareness campaigns ineffective include having:

  • Stand-alone messages that do not have follow-up recommendations or campaigns.
  • Passive messages such as “be aware of motorcycles” rather than “watch for motorcycles.”
  • Messages that have been heard before—ones that drivers are likely to tune out.

Additionally, ineffective motorcycle awareness campaigns may use delivery methods that fail to reach many drivers.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This

Instead of continuing ineffective public awareness campaigns, let’s take the time and devote the resources to making motorcycle safety education campaigns work.

If you want to be part of the solution, please help raise awareness by putting your own “Watch for Cycles” sticker on your vehicle and by sharing this library article with your friends.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can save lives.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham