Now that the weather’s warming up, many motorcycles have joined the ranks of cars and trucks traveling our roads. It’s important we all look out for each other, so here are a few tips to help you safely share the road with motorcycles.
Give Four Seconds of Space
When following a motorcycle, find an object on the roadside and count how many seconds it takes between when the motorcycle passes and you do. If your less than four seconds away, you’re too close. You won’t be able to stop quickly enough if something unexpected occurs, and a motorcycle can stop much quicker than a heavier vehicle.
Double Check Blind Spots
While you should always check blind spots before changing lanes, backing up, or turning it is even more important when motorcycles are around. They can easily move into blind spots quickly, so a double glance is a good precaution.
Pass With Care
It is important to consider your large vehicle can create a strong wind gust if you blow by the motorcycle too closely. Always signal your intention to pass and leave at least a few car lengths between you and the motorcycle before switching back into the lane.
Watch Turn Signals
If you see a motorcycle driving down the road with the turn signal on, don’t assume they’re actually turning. Many older motorbikes do not have self-cancelling turn signals and the driver may not realize they’re on. Bikes are loud and most riders wear helmets, so they can’t always hear the turn signal noise either. Leave plenty of space so you have time to react, no matter what the driver decides to do.
Don’t Crowd Riders
Just because motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to space and safety. They’re entitled to their own space, and attempting to illegally pass them is dangerous.
Intersections are Hot Spots
According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. Most accidents occur between 3pm and 6pm, with more deaths occurring on urban major roads other than interstates and freeways.
It is extremely important vehicular drivers follow proper protocols at intersection. Cars, trucks, and other vehicles must come to a complete stop, watch the traffic signals and obey the signs, and look both ways before they proceed – even when they have the right-of-way. Even then, they must proceed slowly.
Improper left turns are especially troublesome as a vehicle proceeding straight through an intersection strikes a motorcycle broadside which can lead to severe injuries or death.
Increase Care in Poor Weather
The weather affects motorcycles more than other vehicles, because they’re lighter, have two wheels instead of four, and they’re more vulnerable to storm debris.
High winds and branches on the pavement can cause a driver to swerve. The drivers also have less visibility since they may not have a large windshield and typically do not have wipers either. Additionally, poor weather makes motorcyclists even harder to see than normal. Use extra caution when traveling alongside motorcycles during poor weather.
Dim High Beams
Your vehicle’s high beams can blind a motorcyclist if you do not dim them at least 500 feet before you approach them. If you notice a singular headlight approaching, wait until they pass before you change lanes too. Riding at night, especially in the rain, can be treacherous for motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, accidents involving a vehicle and a motorcycle often cause serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists. As an automobile driver, you have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road, demonstrate additional care near motorcycles, and to carry proper insurance coverage.
State minimums do not provide the coverage you need if the unexpected happens. Discuss your coverage with your local, independent insurance agent, follow these tips, and safely share the road with motorcyclists.