Safety Tips: Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
Sharing the Road with Motorcycles: Nine Safety Tips for Your Next Road Trip
At no point are there more roadway hazards than the span of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Roadway traffic typically increases during the summer months, in addition to construction detours, road closures, the incidence of DUI and an increase in the number of teenager drivers.
Warmer weather also brings more motorcycle owners out of hibernation. While riding down the open road with the wind in your hair and the sun on your back has its appeal, motorcyclists are at an increased risk of being injured or killed in an accident. Whether you are on a bike or in a car, taking the time to be extra cautious and adhering to a few safety tips while on the road this summer will increase your chances of having a safe and enjoyable summer.
There are obvious advantages to owning a motorcycle – they use less gas, are more flexible in traffic, easier to park, and of course there is the cool factor. However, the biggest disadvantage when compared to a car – you are smaller and harder to see. When riding a motorcycle, always remember to:
- Assume that you are invisible to other motorists. Because there are fewer motorcycles than cars on the road, motorists usually aren’t keeping an eye out for you. Take extra measure to make sure you are seen by always using your headlight during daytime or nighttime hours, avoid riding in blind spots and wear bright clothing.
- Be courteous: avoid tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and riding between lanes of slow moving traffic.
- Watch the road surface and traffic ahead to anticipate potential problems. A pothole, oil slick, puddle or other debris may pose little threat to a car, but can be extremely hazardous to a motorcycle.
- Take extra care when proceeding through an intersection. Approximately 70% of motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle occur when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcycle. Keep a close eye on other vehicles and watch for unexpected turns. If visibility is blocked by parked cars or shrubbery, slow down and proceed with caution.
- Invest in a motorcycle protection membership program, created specifically for motorcycles if you are planning an extended road trip. Should you become injured or ill during your trip, this membership program will arrange to have you transported to the hospital of your choice. Some policies will even send your bike back home if for some reason you are unable to ride it.
Motorcycle Rider Protection Tips for Motorists:
Motorcycles have the same right to the road as a car. However, because there are more cars and trucks on the road, motorists are not necessarily trained to watch for motorcycles. The number one cause of motorcycle-related accidents was because the person driving the car failed to see the other person. Take extra care to:
- Give motorcycles the full lane. They may need to make a sudden move to avoid debris in the road or change positions within a lane to make themselves more visible to other motorists.
- Allow more distance between you and the bike. It is customary to allow two seconds between your vehicle and a car in front of you. However, when following a motorcycle a driver should allow four seconds.
- Assume a motorcycle is closer than it appears. Because of its small size, motorcycles may actually seem farther away. It is also more difficult to gauge how fast it is going.
- Do not be fooled by a flashing turn signal. Motorcycle signals do not self-cancel like an automobile and the driver may have inadvertently forgotten to turn it off. Make sure the rider is indeed going to turn before you continue on your way.