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Street Vibrations Bring Motorcycles to Reno, and a Focus on Motorcycle Safety

A lot of motorcycles made their way to the Tahoe, Virginia City, and the Downtown Reno area last weekend for the annual, week-long, street vibration festival. This annual tradition has brought more than fifty-thousand motorcyclists to Northern Nevada for more than fifty years. As exciting as this event can be, it is important that drivers and motorcyclists be aware of each other and be respectful and willing to share the road with each other. Law enforcement has also emphasized that motorcyclist laws differ in Nevada compared to other states, such as splitting lanes, which is illegal in Nevada. The Nevada State Police, Highway Patrol Division also added that while drivers may hear the motorcycles, they may not always see them, especially during low visibility times like dusk and dawn. Sergeant Alan Hollingsworth of the Reno Police Department noted that motorcycles have a small profile, making them extremely difficult to see to drivers of motor vehicles, especially large trucks, and vehicles with large blind spots. The following are some tips Sergeant Hollingsworth offered to drivers during this time:

  • If you are visiting Northern Nevada for Street Vibrations, be careful of the ever-changing traffic patterns, and follow posted construction signs as well as speed limits. For example, there are new micro mobility lanes in downtown Reno, and thus an increased number of pedestrians and scooters in the area.
  • On roads and highways, motorcycles need to be given adequate amounts of space
  • Both cars and motorcycles need to signal one another before making a move. Use your blinkers and take the time to look over your shoulder to ensure your blind spot is clear. Car sensors are helpful, but do not rely on them fully. Cutting someone off while changing lanes can also result in tension and possible road rage.
  • When events like street vibration occur, traffic is often slower, so have patience. Plan on leaving for your destination a little earlier than usual so you don’t have to rush or speed to get there. Rushing to get to location can result in more accidents as well as road rage.

The las tip Hollingsworth offered was to ride safe, be alert, and be willing to share the road so that everyone is safe. [1]

Nevada Motorcycle Accident Data and Safety

A little more than nineteen percent of fatal accidents in Nevada were motorcycle fatalities, and between 2014 and 2018 there were 268 motorcycle crashes involving a fatality with 305 total fatalities. Almost two hundred of these crashes occurred in the Clark County area, with Washoe County having the second highest number of crashes. In addition, the majority (76 percent) of Nevada motorcycle accidents occurred in an Urban setting.

Data from this 2014-2018 period also shows that males between the ages of 21 and 25 were the largest group reported in motorcycle driver and passenger fatalities. Additionally, a majority (61 percent) of these fatal crashes occurred between 12:00 PM and 8:59 PM, so in daytime hours. In Nevada, fatal motorcycle crashes took place most frequently in September, on average – this may be due to the influx of cyclists during Street Vibrations.[2]

While these statistics can be scary, there are measure that can be taken as a motorcyclist to ensure your safety. Wearing a helmet is one of the best ways to prevent fatalities as helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives in 2017. Motorcycle helmets are thirty-seven percent effective in preventing death for riders and forty-one percent effective for preventing deaths. In non-fatal accidents, helmets reduce the risk of head injury or brain trauma by sixty-nine percent. [3]

In addition to wearing a helmet, the following are some safety tips that can make riding safer:

  • Check the Weather— rain, ice, and snow can make riding hazardous, and it results in less traction, low visibility, and unpredictable riding situations
  • Wear Motorcycle Gear—motorcycle gear can protect you from the elements, road rash, and debris. Gear should include helmets, leather jackets, leather pants or chaps, over-the-ankle boots, as well as non-slip gloves. Dressing in layers can also help keep you warmer during the colder months
  • Drive at the Speed Limit— While this seems repetitive, it is one of the most important things to remember. In 2019, 48 percent of motorcyclist deaths were a result of excessive speed.
  • Be Visible— More than 3/4 of accidents involving motorcycles are due to the fact other drivers did not see the motorcycle. Driving with headlights, wearing reflective and bright clothing, and using turn signals are all ways to make yourself more visible.





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