Driving Safely Around Motorcyclists
It’s Motorcycle Safety awareness month.
As a personal injury law that has seen the effects of catastrophic injuries brought on by motorcycle accidents, we believe it’s a great time to discuss some crucial tips on sharing the road with motorcyclists which could truly help save lives. Motorcyclists can be extremely easy to miss on the road, and are at a much greater risk of incurring a serious injury in a crash.
There is no airbag or seatbelt on a motorcycle. A small accident involving a car and a motorcycle can be catastrophic, most likely for the motorcyclist.
- Remember that motorcyclists are bound by the same rules of the road, such as right-of-way. They must follow other laws as riders, too, such as always wearing a helmet and protective eyewear while riding.
- Give motorcyclists room on the road. Never tailgate them too closely. And if you’re passing them, make sure you give them plenty of room and don’t cross into their lane. Motorcyclists have to avoid potholes and debris, which are much more dangerous to a motorcycle in motion than a car.
- Be careful when passing a motorcyclist – wait until it’s safe. If you need to make a right turn, avoid passing them beforehand. Motorcycles can go faster than you anticipate, and passing a motorcyclist and then making a right turn can cause a serious accident.
- Learn to communicate with motorcyclists on the road much like you would other drivers. Miscommunication can lead to an accident. For example, say you’re facing a motorcyclist across an intersection. They’re in their far-left lane, and you’re making a left, but they don’t have their blinker on and aren’t using a hand signal. You need to know whether they are driving straight, or making a right onto the road you’re turning on to.
- Keep a 360° awareness of the road. Motorcycles are easy to miss on the road, so it’s very important you do keep an eye and ear out for them.
- Make sure you take a very close look at the road before turning. Many accidents between cars and motorcycles occur when a car is turning and the driver either doesn’t see a motorcyclist or misjudges their speed.
- Be light with your horn when it comes to motorcyclists. Think about how loud it is when you’re being honked at…and you’re in a car which blocks out a lot of noise pollution. A loud honk can startle a motorcyclist into losing their focus and possibly making a dangerous maneuver.
- Don’t fully rely on a motorcycle’s brake lights to know when to reduce speed behind them. Motorcyclists many times downshift in order to flash their brake lights. Instead of solely relying on a motorcycle’s brake lights to gauge whether or not you should stop or slow down, pay attention to their reduction in speed too.
- Remember, not all motorcyclists know or follow the all rules of the road. Much like there are plenty of imperfect drivers, there are also plenty of imperfect motorcyclists. Giving motorcyclists space on the road is a good rule of thumb overall.
Motorcyclists – Avoid These Dangerous Areas On The Road
- BLIND SPOTS – It’s already difficult for people to see motorcyclists on the road to begin with. Avoid moving into another vehicle’s blind spot at all costs. A good rule of thumb – if you can’t see them in their mirror, they likely can’t see you.
- AREAS THAT CAN MAKE YOU LOSE TRACTION – Since motorcycles have such a small contact patch with the ground, it is extremely easy for them to lose traction. And it’s much harder for motorcycles to gain back traction than a car driving at the same speed. Always scan the road ahead of you to look out for dirt. Dirty, snowy, icy, or wet roads all put motorcyclists at risk for losing traction.
- AREAS THAT HAVE OIL DEPOSITS – Oil is a lubricant, and so riding your motorcycle over it can cause you to lose traction as well. Keep your eye on the center lane for oil spills. This is likely where oil would spill from another car. There’s constantly traces of oil on the ground. Be extremely careful if it’s drizzling – this is when the trace amounts of oil can spread across the roadway. If you’re in rainy conditions that are causing puddles, watch out for puddles that have collected oil. They’ll have a multi-colored look to them. Always take it slow in the rain so you’re able to watch out for these hazards.
- UNEVEN SURFACES – Uneven surfaces are a huge safety hazard for motorcycles. They could cause motorcyclists to lose control. Rain can make this problem even worse by covering up uneven spots on the road.
- SOLID LINES – Those solid lines that aren’t meant to be passed, which turn into dashed lines, where it is appropriate to cross, also present a hazard. Many drivers will cross those solid lines, whether out of habit, trying to catch a light, etc. If you’re a motorcyclist and attempt to get into a turning lane where the solid line is at the same time as a car, you could end up in an accident. Always wait for the dashed lines to appear before getting into a turning lane and make sure there is no one behind you coming up on your tail.
- THE BICYCLE LANE – A rule a thumb is to stay out of the bicycle lane. If you must use the bicycle lane to turn, make sure you enter where the dashed lines begin. And be certain you won’t crash with any cyclists in the lane.
We hope all of these tips help both motorcyclists and drivers keep safe on the roads. Feel free to share with friends and family.