With the start of the summer coming up, more motorcycles will be on the road. Along with entering a busier travel season, motorcyclists and other drivers will be seeing a lot of each other on the roadways. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – no surprise considering spring (and warm weather) is officially here. We know that sharing the road can be a little unnerving, so we’ve put together our top 5 tips to put both drivers and motorcyclists at ease.
1. Use caution when switching lanes. Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, they can be difficult to spot when merging or changing lanes and may appear to be faster or further away than they actually are in rearview or side mirrors. Drivers, check your blind spots more often than normal. Motorcyclists, be sure to always use your turn signal and give drivers extra space when switching lanes or merging.
2. Give them plenty of room. Both motorcyclists and drivers should be aware of how much space they are giving surrounding travelers. When driving behind a motorcycle, drivers should stay at least 3-4 seconds behind them to have extra time to react as needed. To test this, choose an object, such as a road sign, and count the seconds between when the motorcycle passes and when you pass. If you’re at least 4 seconds behind, you should have enough room. If you're riding a motorcycle, give cars extra room to ensure that you are visible to drivers.
3. Look before turning. Intersections can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists and motorists, often resulting in an accident. Be sure you’re extra cautious when at any intersection. It doesn’t hurt to take a second look before turning. You can also try making eye contact with the driver where possible. Drivers should note that many motorcycles don’t have self-canceling turn signals like cars, so they may not be aware if their turn signal is still on. Being extra aware at intersections is a key safety precaution for everyone.
4. Be cautious when passing. Using a few extra safety measures when passing motorcycles or vehicles is always important. Motorcyclists, do not try to pass too closely or too quickly, as the driver may not see you, or this may cause you to be off balance. Motorists, use your turn signals, pass with plenty of room on the side and make sure to be several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle when returning to your lane.
5. Pay close attention to the weather. Bad weather can have a drastic effect on a motorcyclist, making it difficult to control your motorcycle and poor visibility and more dangerous, slippery road conditions for all. If you are driving in inclement weather, give any motorcycle or vehicle on the road some extra space.
Don't forget to have fun! Make a game out of your summer travels and see if you can spot these top 5 most popular models of 2016.:
So whether you’re driving in a car with the windows down or taking your motorcycle out for a ride, remember to have fun and be safe!