Summer weather - or maybe March weather - returns this week, which conveniently coincides with the beginning of National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Alert motorists already know motorcycles returned to the road earlier this year. Yet the Ohio State Highway Patrol is taking this opportunity to remind drivers warm weather will bring an increase in cycles and scooters on area roadways. In short, watch out for motorists on two (or three) wheels.
But the patrol also reminds riders to watch out for themselves and each other.
"From 2009 to 2011, motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in a total of 503 fatalities and over 11,400 injuries in the state of Ohio," the patrol states in a release. "In 2011 alone there were 167 motorcycle-related fatalities.
"Of the 167 fatalities, the motorcyclist was at fault 70 percent of the time."
Simply put, the one person who can do the most to keep a rider safe is the rider. Besides being attentive - and heightened interaction between pilot and machine is part of the allure of motorcycling - there are steps riders can take to make the experience a safer one.
First, take a beginning rider course and obtain motorcycle endorsement. Second, take an advanced rider course. Third, ride sober; nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities last year involved an impaired motorcyclist, according to the patrol.
Of course, drivers of motor vehicles still should be more aware of riders. After all, improving safety on roadways is a cooperative effort, regardless of the weather.