Each year, motorcyclists are at risk of fatal traffic accidents and serious injuries due to collisions with other vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 29 times as likely as car passengers to die in a motor vehicle crash and are four times more likely to be injured. As winter recedes and riders return to the roads, it is important to know how to safely share the road with motorcyclists and understand what you can do to keep everyone safe. Here are eight things that drivers need to know to safely share the road with motorcyclists:
1. Check your blind spots
Motorcycles are often difficult to see and may blend into the surrounding environment. When merging or changing lanes, it is important to check your car’s blind spots to see if there are any motorcycles nearby prior to making your move.
2. Eliminate distractions and turn the volume down
It is always important to eliminate distractions while driving but it is especially important when sharing the road with motorcyclists. By staying aware of your surroundings and keeping the volume down on your music device, you should be able to hear if there is a motorcycle approaching, even if you cannot see them. Eliminating distractions, such as phones or loud music, can help you stay focused.
3. Give motorcyclists distance to react
When sharing the road with a motorcycle, it is important to give them distance and space to react. Motorcyclists tend to move and react more quickly. Thus, giving them enough distance helps avoid rear-end collisions and allows them to stay focused without worrying about your vehicle.
4. Be cautious when passing motorcycles
It is important to take extra precaution when passing a motorcyclist because the increased speed of your vehicle can cause a heavy wind and could throw off the rider’s balance. Motorcycles can become unstable or cause a rider to drive off the side of the road. Use your turn signal to let them know you are passing and return to the lane when they are a far enough distance away.
5. Bad weather and road conditions
Riding a motorcycle requires serious focus to maneuver and control it through traffic. Motorcyclists face risks while being exposed to bad weather or difficult road conditions, and it can be more challenging to operate the motorcycle under these conditions. Motorcyclists may fall off due to high winds or slide due to rain and winter weather. When driving in bad weather or with poor road conditions, take caution and give motorcyclists enough room to maneuver if they end up sliding. Also, be aware that these conditions may make it more difficult for you to see other motorists around you.
6. Turn on your signal and watch out for turning motorcycles
If a motorcycle is behind you, it is important to notify the rider of your intentions by putting on your turn signal earlier than usual. This allows the rider to adapt and reduces the risk of pile-ups. On the other hand, watch out for riders who are turning, as many motorcycles today still do not have self-cancelling turn signals. When you see a motorcycle with their turn signal on, give it more space and increase your following distance. This gives them time to slow down and turn, as well as gives you time to react.
7. Double-check before taking left turns and while approaching intersections
Motorcycle t-bone accidents and side-on collisions can be especially severe. When making a left turn at intersections or crossing lanes to turn left, it is important to be on the lookout for motorcycles as it can be difficult to gauge their speed. In addition, follow the usual protocol for intersections by coming to a complete stop and making sure no other vehicles are approaching.
8. Keep motorcyclists safe at all times of the day, and especially at night.
It is already difficult to see motorcyclists during the day but there is an increased risk of an accident at night. Due to reduced visibility and the size of the motorbike, it is important to be even more cautious at night. Make sure that your high-beams are turned off, especially when you see other vehicles approaching. Increase your following distance and give extra space.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Motorcyclists share the same responsibilities as other drivers but they are at an increased risk of an accident as well. It is important to know how to safely share the road with motorcyclists and how to properly operate your vehicle around them. If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a motorcycle, contact the Connecticut Trial Firm today to get the help you deserve.