Motorcyclists have the same rights as any vehicle on the road. During the month of May, drivers are reminded to “share the road” with motorcyclists and be extra alert to keep them safe. In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, accounting for 14% of total highway fatalities that year. Safe riding/ driving and cooperation from all drivers on the road help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries of motorcyclists. It’s especially important for drivers to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists. So, by increasing awareness and knowledge, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road. Here’s what you should know about motorcyclists:
- Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle and most of the time the car or truck driver is at fault. Some drivers don’t recognize a motorcycle and ignore it unintentionally.
- A motorcycle can be hidden in a car’s blind spot or masked by backgrounds because of its narrow profile. Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles whether you’re changing lanes or turning at an intersection.
- A motorcycle may look farther away than it actually is, due to its small size. It also may be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed.
- Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or ruling off the throttle which does not activate the brake light. Allow more following distance and always predict a motorcyclist may slow down without warning at in intersection.
- Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and minimize road effects. Understand that these lane adjustments are done for a purpose.
- Turn signals on a motorcycle are usually not self-cancelling, so be aware that sometimes motorcyclists forget to turn them off.
- Allow for more follow distance when following a motorcycle. This gives the motorcyclist more time to stop in an emergency.