The road was not designed for just one type of vehicle. We share it with truckers, SUVs of various sizes, monster trucks, and motorcyclists. And while driving with safety in mind is crucial, being cautious and respectful of other drivers is especially important when sharing the road with a motorcyclist. Driving this fact home is the number of motorcyclist fatalities each year. Consider this- motorcycles comprise only 3% of the registered vehicles on the road, but 14% of all traffic fatalities, 18% of all occupant fatalities, and 4% of all occupant injuries. So, as responsible drivers, it is important to do our part to ensure their safety. After all, no matter the size of one’s vehicle, it is larger and can cause more danger than a motorcycle.
Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists
Be aware of blind spots. We all know our vehicles have blind spots that make turning, passing, and changing lanes a bit more of a challenge. Be sure to look several times before acting- especially if you drive a larger vehicle. While a motorcyclist can stop rather quickly, your vehicle may not stop fast enough.
Don’t pass in the right-hand lane. And don’t make sudden speed or lane changes around motorcycles. Give bike riders plenty of room to maneuver around another vehicle. Just because the motorcycle is smaller it doesn’t negate the need for room to move. Sudden maneuvers around motorcycles (or scooters/mopeds) can startle the rider and cause an accident.
Give them plenty of room to stop. When following a motorcycle, keep in mind that they cannot stop as fast as you can- they need 3-4 seconds to throttle down. So, stay back a couple of car lengths to provide plenty of stopping space. Should you have a cyclist behind you, be sure to give them as much warning as possible before stopping. One way to do your part in providing plenty of stop/lead time is to be certain your vehicle is in great condition. Using lubricants, brake fluids, and other AMSOIL productsfrom Buy Great Oil will help your vehicle perform at its best.
Make sure your mirrors are in the best position. Use your mirrors to minimize blind spots. Take time to set them correctly. Remember to check (and readjust them if needed) after someone other than yourself has driven the car. Being able to see clearly all around you is safer for everyone on the road.
Don’t depend on a motorcyclist’s turn signals. While an automobile’s turn signals turn off after a turn is made, not every motorcycle is not designed that way – especially the older bikes. Just because the turn signal is on it doesn’t mean they are turning. As with driving a car, sometimes one forgets to flip off the turn signal, which means having extra space is important.
Pay attention during bad weather. While driving a car is tough when it’s raining it is even more of a challenge for the motorcyclist. The nature of their transportation makes debris more difficult to avoid and visibility even more dangerous. Give them plenty of space to maneuver.
Keep high beams off. If driving at night, and you hear or see a motorcycle approaching be sure to turn your high beams off. While this is important when dealing with other vehicles, it is especially important for motorcyclists as the brighter lights make it extremely difficult to see -on approach, as well as after you have passed by as their eyes may need a moment to readjust to the previous light level.
Sharing the road with others is part of driving. Doing your part to drive in a way that is safe for everyone is important- no matter what you drive. Do your part. Be sure you look carefully, keep your vehicle maintained, and be sure to follow the basic rules of the road. Everybody is important and rushing to get somewhere rarely ends the way one might like.