A new initiative is being implemented in 30 cities around the country in the hopes of reducing motorcycle accidents at road intersections. The campaign is called “Once is never enough (ONE)” and involves posting signs that say “Watch for Motorcycles” in the cities that were chose to be part of the campaign.
Allstate Insurance is spearheading the campaign with hopes of reducing the amount of motorcycle accidents. Since the majority of motorcycle accidents happen at intersections, the campaign focuses on alerting drivers to look more than once for motorcycles. They want drivers to look at least twice for motorcycles at intersections.
Allstate started its ONE campaign four years ago and has been working with local government transportation departments to implement the signs at designated “dangerous intersections”. The process started with temporary signs and now has progressed to permanent signs.
Two cities to receive the signs are Pittsburgh, PA and Baltimore, MD. In 2010, the county where Pittsburgh is located had 320 motorcycle crashes and 132 were at intersections. Of these accidents, 15 were fatalities. Baltimore may have been chosen for its young motorcycle fatality age, an average of 37, which is the lowest in the country.
Will The Signs Work?
There have been many studies done on warning signs and their effectiveness. Minnesota Department of Transportation released their research on sign effectiveness in January 2010. They sited several studies that were both pro and con on traffic signs. The overall opinion seemed geared toward specific warning signs of permanent hazards (winding roads, curves, etc) may be effective and not occasional hazards (ice, deer crossing, etc.) were not.
A study done by the Department of Wisconsin on “Children at Play” warning signs came to a similar conclusion. They concluded that there was no evidence that the signs reduced speeds or the crash rates. They in fact go on to argue that the signs may be harmful, suggesting that the lack of sign means no children are at play and that the signs gave a false sense of security to parents and children.
So will the motorcycle signs be beneficial? According to most research, most likely not. Will it hurt? Most likely not. Although advocates of reducing warning signs that say such signs are distracting and may cause harm by giving false security, there is not much research to support that theory either. If it gets even a few people to stop and think about motorcyclists on the road and take an extra moment to look, then they may have done there job. However, the one thing the signs have done for sure is put Allstate’s name in at least 30 local newspapers around the country!