The Ohio State Highway Patrol has a pair of reminders as the weather turns warmer.
To motorists: There will be an increase in motorcycles on the roadways. To motorcyclists: Ride endorsed, trained and sober.
From 2010 to 2012, motorcycle-involved crashes in Ohio resulted in 509 fatalities and more than 11,480 injuries, according to the patrol. In 2012 alone, there were 165 motorcycle-related fatalities. Of the 165 fatalities, the motorcyclist was at fault 71 percent of the time, the patrol states.
Also from 2010 to 2012, the patrol issued 8,571 citations to motorcyclists - 20 percent of which were for operating a motorcycle without a proper license or endorsement, and a 2 percent increase over the previous three-year period. As a way to combat this number from continuing to rise, the patrol recommends that riders have a valid motorcycle endorsement, receive motorcycle training and wear proper safety equipment.
Locally during that period, the patrol handed out 150 citations in Trumbull County, 193 citations in Mahoning County and 88 in Columbiana.
Lorain County had the most citations with 441; Putnam County had the fewest with seven, according to patrol statistics.
A motorcycle is a motor vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway.
Give motorcyclists a full lane of travel.
Look for motorcyclists on the highway, at intersections, and any time you are changing lanes.
Allow plenty of space in front of the vehicle you are driving and do not follow a motorcycle too closely.
Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol
Riding sober is also important. From 2010 to '12, 50 percent of the fatal motorcycle crashes involved an impaired motorcyclist. Of course, motorcycle safety is not solely the responsibility of motorcyclists. Motor vehicle drivers share in this important effort by being aware of motorcyclists.
A total of 421,510 motorcycles were registered in Ohio in 2012. This is three percent higher than in 2011, and 13 percent higher than in 2007.
For more information, visit www.motorcycle.ohio.gov.