Sharing the road with motorcycles is becoming more common during these spring days. More than half of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. In most of these crashes it is the driver of the car or truck that is at fault. Motorcycles are not equipped with a protective structure around them, or with airbags. If they are hit by a car or truck, they go down, often with serious injuries. Drivers of cars and trucks have a responsibility to motorcyclists.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in 2013, 44 percent of motorcycle crashes involving a car occurred when a car was trying to turn left while the motorcycle went straight.
Due to the natural beauty of our area, it offers ideal routes for motorcyclists. Motorcycle Safety Month is a good time to remind us of key safety tips when we share the road.
- When making driving decisions in the presence of a motorcycle, remember that there is a real person under the helmet. Drive as if that person is your best friend.
- Before you discount the need for you to be particularly careful of motorcycles on the road, ask yourself how you will feel if your negligence causes a biker serious injury or death.
- Always be alert to the presence of a motorcycle on the road near you. Never ignore a motorcycle.
- If you are changing lanes or turning, take an extra moment to look for a motorcycle that might be hidden by another vehicle or roadside items.
- Always assume that a motorcycle is closer that it seems at first glance. Due to the size of a motorcycle it may be closer than it appears. This also makes it difficult to determine the speed at which it is moving.
- Don’t rely only on brake lights when driving behind a motorcycle. Many bikers reduce speed by downshifting or by “rolling off the throttle,” and do not use their brakes. Driving near a motorcycle will be safer if you allow extra distance behind the bike. In most cases, 3 or 4 seconds is adequate.
- When approaching intersections, on ramps, or driveways, motorcyclists may slow down without activating lights.
- Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle.
- Understand that bikers adjust their position within a lane often. They do this to be seen more easily by vehicles and to reduce the danger posed by debris, other vehicles and wind.
- Motorcycle turn signals typically are not self-cancelling. Some riders (especially the inexperienced) forget to turn off the signal after making a lane change or turning. Before you decide to go around a motorcycle, make sure the turn signal is on for a reason. A good way to do this is to try to make eye contact with the biker.
- Experienced bikers can maneuver a motorcycle quite well. Drivers of cars and trucks should never assume, however, that a biker can always maneuver out of your way.
- Wet and slippery roads make it difficult to stop quickly – for a motorcycle or a for a car or truck. Always allow extra space around a motorcycle in wet weather.
- Be as considerate of a motorcycle as you would be of a car or truck.
- Turn your head and check your blind spots frequently to ensure there is not a motorcycle there.
- Be exceptionally careful when you see a child on a bike. Give them as much room as you possibly can.
- When sharing the road with a motorcycle at night, keep in mind that night riding can be very dangerous for bikers. Turn off your high-beams, don’t pass, and increase your following distance.
- If a motorcycle is behind you, signal as early as possible if you plan to turn or stop.
We hope these tips will help you and motorcyclists drive together safely on our roads. Bikers and drivers of cars and trucks can share the road safely. Courtesy and common sense go a long way in preventing many crashes.
If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident or in an auto or other vehicle accident, through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. When you need an attorney with a special blend of compassion and aggression, call Altizer Law, P.C. Experience and determination are important in injury cases. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been trusted for more than 30 years. They know that when you are injured, it’s about the money.