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Effectiveness: 1 Star Cost: Varies
Use: High
Time: Medium

Overall Effectiveness Concerns: Although this countermeasure is widely used, no evaluations of the effectiveness of campaigns to increase driver awareness of motorcyclists are available.

In multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes, the other vehicle drivers are frequently cited for having violated the motorcyclists’ right-of-way (Clarke et al., 2007; Elliott et al., 2007; NCHRP, 2008, Strategy F3; NHTSA, 2000). Motorcycles and motorcyclists are smaller visual targets than cars or trucks, resulting in low conspicuity (see Motorcycle Safety chapter, Section 4.1). Also, drivers may not expect to see motorcycles on the road (NCHRP, 2008, Strategy F3; NHTSA, 2000). Clarke et al. (2007) reported that even when motorcyclists were using headlights and high-conspicuity clothing drivers sometimes failed to notice them.

Several States have conducted communications and outreach campaigns to increase motorists’ awareness of motorcyclists. Typical themes are “Share the Road ” or “Watch for Motorcyclists.” Some States build campaigns around “Motorcycle Awareness Month,” often in May, early in the summer riding season. (See NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Marketing website for “Motorist Awareness of Motorcycles” material - Many motorcyclist organizations including MSF, SMSA, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, and State and local rider groups, have driver awareness material available. See NHTSA (2006, Section 5) and NCHRP (2008, Strategy F3) for links and references. Some organizations also make presentations on drivers’ awareness of motorcyclists to driver education classes.

NHTSA developed model language on sharing the road safely with motorcyclists. The model language is appropriate for traffic safety education courses, driver manuals, and other communication and outreach (NHTSA, 2007b). NHTSA developed a “Share the Road” program planner for use by States, communities, and the motorcycling community


Use: Thirty-six of 44 States that responded to a survey question reported they communicate ways for drivers to increase their awareness of motorcycles and motorcyclists (Baer et al., 2010). NHTSA (2006, Section 5) and NCHRP (2008, Strategy F3) provide examples or links to campaigns from a dozen States.

Effectiveness: There are no evaluations of the effectiveness of campaigns to increase driver awareness of motorcyclists (NCHRP, 2008, Strategy F3).

Costs: Good communications and outreach campaigns can be expensive to develop and implement: see the Seat Belts and Child Restraints chapter, Section 3.1. Motorcyclist awareness material is available from  sources including the MSF, other motorcyclist organizations, and States that have conducted these campaigns (NCHRP, 2008, Strategy F3).

Time to implement: A proper campaign, including market research, message development and testing, and implementation will require at least 6 months to plan and implement.