Motorcycle Safety Tips
It seems like every spring, people forget all about proper motorcycle safety tips. After the cold months, with little to no motorcycle traffic on our roadways, we tend to get complacent and forget about motorcyclists. Driving a big rig, I see a lot of accidents on the roadways. Nothing is worse than coming up onto an accident scene and seeing a bike laying on the ground. That never turns out well.
The following motorcycle safety tips are more geared towards those of us with more than 2-wheels!
How to Drive Around Motorcycles
Those of us who have never ridden a bike can be confused at the behavior of riders. Rather than explain every aspect of their driving behavior, it's best to simply follow the "big tips."
When making left turns, look for traffic... Then look AGAIN for bikers!
I put the #1 motorcycle safety tip first. The vast majority of car vs. bike accidents happen in intersections when a car turns right in front of a biker. You can imagine how this turns out for the motorcycle rider. It is imperative, before making a left turn, to be sure traffic is clear. THEN look again specifically for motorcycles! Vehicles turning in front of motorcycles is the number one cause of fatal accidents for motorcycle riders. Please, look twice and save a life!
Let them swerve
You'll notice that motorcycle riders often weave within their lane from side to side. They have good reason to do this. For those of us in cars and trucks, running over a pothole means we get jarred and at the very worse, screws up the alignment on our vehicle. For a biker, though, missing a pothole could literally mean the difference between life and death! And that's just the start! Factor in road kill, oil spots, and other types of road debris. Some roads can literally be an obstacle course for them. Many bikers like to change position in their lane to stay out of peoples blind spots too.
The best thing to do is leave them as much space as possible. There are many things bikers need to swerve for. So don't crowd them. Give them as much room as possible. If you want to pass them, do it in a hurry and get out of their way.
When riding behind a motorcycle, increase your following distance. Leave an extra buffer zone. Why? For one, motorcycles have a much quicker stopping distance than cars. You can't stop as quickly as they can. If you rear end another car, the driver of that car is well protected. Motorcycle riders are completely exposed. Even a minor collision can have very serious effects. So practice all of your defensive driving techniques two fold around bikers.
Make a conscious note
During unusually warm weather during the winter months, and during all days of the spring, summer, and fall, make a mental note that bikers are out there. Just as we remind ourselves to watch for kids in neighborhoods, we should remind ourselves of bikers. Share the road. Bikers can only do so much to protect themselves. Let's help them out by specifically looking out for them. The end result is you being a safer driver all around. If you're looking specifically for small motorcycles, you're sure to see everything else!
Let em' enjoy the freedom. Let em' enjoy the ride. Let's keep our riders safe. They are our friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers. Follow these motorcycle safety tips, share the road, and please, drive safely!
Written By: Mike Rogers