Motorcyclists can cruise through the city a little less worried about being hit by vehicles thanks to the installation of the first-ever standardized motorcycle warning signs in Shelby County.
The yellow diamond-shaped signs emblazoned with the words "Watch for Motorcycles" were installed at all four corners of the Macon Road and North Collierville-Arlington Road intersection on November 1st.
The signs are part of the Once Is Never Enough (O.N.E.) program, an initiative created by Allstate insurance company that encourages drivers to be more alert for motorcycles.
"We make the public aware by putting these signs up at some of the dangerous intersections," said Allstate agent Rod Lovelace. "A motorcyclist doesn't just run into a pole. It's typically because a car pulled out in front of them. That's what this program is about, [emphasizing] that looking once is never enough. Like your mother taught you, you have to look both ways twice before crossing the road."
According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, there were 3,363 motorcycle crashes documented in Shelby County between 2003 and 2012, a third of which occurred at intersections. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of all multi-vehicle crashes resulting in a fatality for motorcyclists occur at intersections.
As part of the program, Allstate representatives collaborate with local traffic authorities to identify dangerous intersections for motorcycles and install warning signs at the locations.
University of Memphis student Joe Poplawski uses a motorcycle as his primary means of transportation. He said he's almost been hit several times.
"Intersections or really anywhere where you're pulling out from a side road onto a main road are definitely unsafe for motorcyclists," Poplawski said. "That's when drivers look left, they look right, they don't see a car, so they just pull out and end up hitting a motorcycle. Because they don't see a car there, they think that nothing's there."
Memphis is the 15th of 30 cities that have received the federally approved signs since May. Other cities that have received the signs include Baltimore, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Poplawski said he's thankful for the new warning signs, but he still encourages fellow motorcyclists to drive defensively through the city.
"I won't say that I feel safer as a motorcycle driver, because even with stop signs, some people don't follow them," Poplawski said. "I do like the fact that the signs will get motorcyclists more awareness. One less accident is a big deal, because that accident could be me."
Allstate plans to install additional signs at other dangerous intersections across the city.