If you are like many car aficionados, there’s a good chance that you are also a motorcycle enthusiast. Motorcycles are a fun way to travel, but they are also some of the most invisible motorists on the road. How many times have you driven down the highway only to see a flash of chrome and hear the rumble of an engine zip past you? Motorcyclists often ride in blind spots and navigate swiftly and as a fellow motorist, if you’re not paying attention, you could end up being in an accident.
Approximately more than 52% of motorcycle accidents involved another motorist, according to the most recent crash statistics. While motorcyclists are responsible for their own safety on the road, here are some tips and reminders for you, as a motorist, on sharing the road with motorcyclists:
Take Extra Care During Motorcycle Season
Despite where you live, motorcycle season may be year round, but in many parts of the country the busiest times on the road for motorcycles are spring, summer, and special events like Bike Week or motorcycle rallies. If you get in the practice of looking for motorcyclists, you’re less likely to be surprised by one that seems to come out of nowhere.
Don’t Be a Road Hog
Although motorcycles need less space than a standard vehicle, they still have the right to a use of a lane. Always give a motorcyclist the use of a full lane and never attempt to share a lane. Even if you think that you could pass, your safety (as well as the motorcyclist’s) could be compromised. It’s also important to keep in mind that your car is a more powerful vehicle and if you cut it too close, it’s likely the motorcyclist could lose control.
Additionally, just as you would with other motorists, allow enough following distance. Never tailgate a motorcyclist. If he or she needs to stop suddenly and you crash into him or her, the results can be fatal due to the lack of protection.
Road Conditions are More Hazardous for Motorcyclists
Cars can navigate over bumps and uneven terrain much more effortlessly than motorcyclists can. Even the most skilled and careful of motorcyclists may struggle with less-than-ideal road conditions, therefore, it’s important to keep your distance and keep an eye on the motorcyclist.
Signal and Pay Attention to Signals
There’s nothing more annoying than when a driver fails to use the turn indicator, this goes for motorcyclists, too. Although motorcyclists have turn indicators on their bikes, they should also use hand signals. Even if the cyclist you are following doesn’t use hand signals, follow with caution and distance. If you’re one of those drivers who uses your turn indicator sparingly, start using it all the time. This will keep all motorists safer and reduce the risk of a preventable collision.
Check Your Blind Spots
Whether you drive a small car or a large family van, stay in the habit of checking your blind spots. Since motorcycles are difficult to spot (and don’t always keep a safe distance from other vehicles), check your mirrors and blind spots often, particularly when entering and exiting a lane or at intersections.