Written by attorney Timothy J. O'Hare

Share the Road - Motorcycle Safety Tips for Car & Truck Drivers

The responsibility of keeping motorcyclists safe on the road isn’t only on the shoulders of motorcycle riders, but on all motorists. As mentioned in last week’s article outlining safety tips for motorcyclists, 98% of motorcycle riders who are involved in accidents are injured. Of those, half of them suffer serious injuries.

There are specific actions a motorcyclist can take to stay safe on the road, but motorists who share the road with motorcyclists should also take certain precautions to avoid an accident that could otherwise be prevented.

Check twice for traffic when changing lanes or turning at intersections. The profile of a motorcycle is much smaller than that of a car or truck. A motorcycle’s small size can not only make it more easily hidden from the sight of a vehicle driver, but it can also make it appear further away than it is. The smaller size of motorcycles can also make it difficult for other motorists to judge how fast a motorcycle is traveling.

Don’t follow motorcyclists at close distances. Some motorcyclists slow their speed by downshifting rather than breaking. Motorists should allow at least 3 to 4 seconds following distance, and predict when a motorcyclist in front of them may slow down. When roads are wet, motorcycles can have a difficult time stopping quickly and should be allowed more space from other motorists.

Be aware that a motorcyclist may often change positions in a lane. Motorcycles do not respond to road hazards, such as debris and potholes as well as other vehicles might. Because of this, a motorcyclist might often be seen changing his or her position within a lane, to avoid potential hazards. Motorcyclists may also change positions in a lane to be seen more easily by other drivers.

Safety on the roads for all drivers is dependent on drivers being aware of who they share the road with, as well as avoiding distracted driving, drunk driving and other actions that often lead to accidents.

For more information on sharing the road with motorcyclists, read this list of tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

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