Natchez Trace Parkway promotes motorcycle safety

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TUPELO, Miss.This month marks the beginning of riding season for many motorcyclists in America. It is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds all motorists that Motorcyclist’s Safety Is Everyone’s Safety. Motorcycle safety is an ongoing responsibility for all road users on Natchez Trace Parkway. By consistently following safe driving and riding practices and sharing them with others, all motorists can help reduce the number of motorcyclist fatalities on America’s roads.

Each year motorcyclists are overrepresented in traffic crashes. Two leading contributors to this reality are speeding and alcohol impairment.

According to NHTSA data, there were 6,218 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2022. Motorcyclists were about 22 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and 4 times more likely to be injured.

Speeding, like in all other years, was a major contributing factor to motorcyclist fatalities in 2022. Thirty-five percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 22% of all passenger car drivers.

Alcohol impairment also plays a significant role in motorcycle-involved crash fatalities, and 2022 was no exception. Of the 2,254 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes that year, 42% were alcohol-impaired.

Over a five-year span, 826 motorcycle crashes occurred within national park lands. The crashes resulted in 575 motorcyclists injured or killed. Nearly half of the crashes were non-collision crashes. This means riders failed to negotiate the roads properly and crashed down steep embankments or into the roadside ditch. Many National Park Service roads consist of unforgiving narrow winding roads, often with steep embankments along the edge and were designed for leisurely driving.

When traveling Natchez Trace Parkway, motorcycle riders should be aware of:

  • Posted speed limits.
  • Narrow lanes, limited shoulders, and fewer pull offs.
  • Limited to no road markings.
  • Descending radius curves.
  • Designated areas to enjoy the views.
  • Wildlife crossing.

For more information on motorcycle safety within the National Park Service, visit: www.nps.gov/articles/motorcycle-safety

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