The smell of barbecues and chlorine from the pool are sure to bring more and more people outdoors this summer—and many will enjoy the weather by commuting on motorcycles. While many drivers see this as an annoyance at best (and a hazard at worst), motorcycles have just as much right to the road as cars do—and failing to give a biker his due can cost a driver thousands in an injury case. These simple tips can help drivers work together with bikers to keep all road users whole and healthy:
7 Tips for Increasing Motorcycle Awareness and Sharing the Road Safely
- Line up. Although motorcycles are smaller, they should be given a full lane width of travel space. Attempting to share a lane with a motorcycle is unnecessarily dangerous.
- Size matters. Drivers tend to “miss” seeing a biker because they are only looking for other cars before pulling out into traffic. Summer is an optimal time to double-check mirrors and blind spots for smaller vehicles (like motorcycles, but also including motorized scooters and strollers) that travel at slower speeds.
- Back up. Motorcyclists need more time to stop or swerve away from danger in an emergency, so drivers should leave three more seconds (about one additional car length) of distance when following behind them.
- Use signals. Get into the habit of using your traffic signals for every turn and lane change. Other drivers around you (including motorcyclists) will be better able to choose their lane position safely and avoid last-minute maneuvers.
- Turning trouble. Drivers are often unable to correctly judge the speed and distance of an oncoming motorcycle while waiting for a left turn, causing many bikers to be struck in a t-bone or sideswipe crash. If you are unsure of an oncoming motorcyclist’s speed, wait until he has passed before completing a turn.
- Exposure. Motorcyclists feel the contact with the air and road much more keenly than drivers. Cars may glide right over bumps in the road or spilled gravel from road construction, but these objects are serious hazards for motorcycle riders. Bikers will often need to swerve, slow down, or change lane positions suddenly in order to adjust to road, weather, and traffic conditions.
- Weekend warriors. Warmer weather can cause a lot of people to travel without their cars, especially on weekends—meaning more motorcycles, bikes, skateboards, and pedestrians will be on the road with you. Since you never know how large an obstacle will be until it crosses your path, get into the habit of checking your blind spot and scanning intersections for smaller objects.
Drivers Who Don’t Share the Road Can Be Held Liable for a Motorcyclist’s Injuries
Drivers who don’t willingly and openly share the roads with motorcycle riders can be held liable for the costs of an accident—and these costs can amount to thousands of dollars in damages. Call us today at (888) 348-2616 for information on collecting an injury settlement, or learn how to protect your rights in our free book, The Devil's Advocate: A Biker's Guide to Accidents & Injuries.