Sharing the Road with Motorcycles: 10 Crucial Techniques Every Driver Should Follow
It’s a fact, passengers of a motorcycle are 28X more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. In 2016, 5,286 people died in motorcycle accidents.
With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer you can expect to see more riders on the road. We encourage you to keep our roads safe for all drivers by following these tips:
1. Always Check Your Blind Spots
Motorcyclists are much smaller than passenger vehicles and can be more difficult to identify while merging or changing lanes. Be sure to take a second look into your rear-view and side-view mirrors before moving over.
2. Be Extra Careful When Passing
It is lawful to pass a motorcycle in the same way you would an automobile, assuming you are driving on a section of the roadway that permits passing. However, the gust of wind your vehicle gives off while speeding past a motorcycle can cause the motorcycle to become unstable and possibly blow the rider off the road.
Make sure to signal your intention to pass a slower motorcyclist by using your left turn signal. Always make sure you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle before returning to your lane.
3. Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Many motorcyclists slow down by only rolling off the throttle or downshifting, so brake lights might not alert you of a bike stopping.
Provide 3 to 4 seconds of following time for motorcycles, and always assume a bike will brake when approaching a stop at an intersection. Riders can easily over-brake, slide and fall when cut off by other vehicles.
4. Be cautious in Severe Weather
Although you likely won’t encounter as many riders in the rain, there are still those who will tough through the elements. Motorcyclists that drive in inclement weather can be especially hard to identify, so be sure you are extremely mindful when driving in these conditions.
5. Turn Your High Beams Off When Motorcyclists are Approaching
Nighttime driving is already treacherous enough for riders, do them a favor and turn off your high beams so they can clearly see the road ahead of them.
6. Stay in Your Lane
No matter how small motorcycles might be or how much extra space there might appear to be on the road, motorcycles are allowed the full use of one lane. You should always give riders as much space as possible. Never veer over to share a lane with them.
7. Notify Motorcyclists of Your Intention to Turn Sooner
Initiate your turn signal sooner than you normally would when you know there is a motorcycle driving behind you. Not only is this courteous, it helps to reduce pile-ups involving motorcycles.
8. Always Follow Safety Protocol at Intersections
Nationally, 50% of all traffic accidents occur at intersections. Always follow the safety protocol for intersections every single time that you approach one: come to a complete halt, view and obey posted traffic signs and signals, look both ways for approaching traffic, and proceed slowly.
9. Watch for Turning Motorcycles
Not all motorcycles come equipped with turn signals, making it more important to give them their space. For those that do have turn signals, unlike cars, some motorcycle signals aren’t self-cancelling; so the driver must remember to manually turn it off.
Allow yourself and the motorcyclist a few extra moments to ensure they are actually turning.
10. Take a Second Look When Turning Left
Motorcycle collisions with a left turning car are often fatal to the motorcyclist. Before you cross a lane or lanes of traffic to turn left, take a second look for approaching motorcycles.
There is no such thing as a fender-bender for a motorcycle rider as they are completely exposed. You must take responsibility, as the driver of an automobile, to take caution and do whatever it takes to prevent motorcycle accidents.
Motorcyclists aren’t the only danger on our roads during warmer weather, click here to discover 5 more!