The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled a new motorcycle safety initiative built on an "action plan" designed to guide the federal agency's policy over the coming years.
The federal plan, unveiled November 2, was accompanied by a television public-service announcement featuring Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters (right, shown in a still photo from the PSA), herself a rider, relating her experience with a motorcycle crash that left her with a broken collarbone (See the TV spot at the NHTSA website.) The accompanying action plan calls for a focus on six areas:
- Evaluating the results of the first comprehensive study into the causes of motorcycle crashes in more than 25 years, a study that has now received full financial support from the federal government and the motorcycle industry following years of work by the AMA.
- Developing new national standards for entry-level motorcycle rider training that are expected to set a baseline for programs in all states.
- Amending the federal motorcycle-helmet standard to address problems of false helmet-certification claims.
- Distributing a brochure designed to offer guidance for highway officials and engineers looking to design, construct and maintain roadways for increased motorcycle safety.
- Creating a training program designed to educate police on enforcement efforts to reduce motorcycle crashes.
- Marketing a “Share the Road” campaign kit for use by states, local communities and motorcycle organizations.
"We're encouraged that NHTSA officials have adopted a more comprehensive approach to the issue of motorcycle safety," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, "and we certainly agree with the emphasis on the new study of motorcycle crashes, which will be getting under way in the next few months. Like the last such study, which was completed in 1980, we think this research has real potential to help riders be safer on the road.
"We are still evaluating what amounts to a major new initiative by this federal agency regarding motorcycle safety," Moreland added, "and we hope that NHTSA officials will maintain a dialogue with the motorcycling community as they proceed with elements of this action plan, to make sure we are working together toward common goals we can all support."
Full details of the action plan are available at the NHTSA motorcycle safety website.
© 2007, American Motorcyclist Association