Vroom, vroom! Whenever there’s good riding weather, you can count on motorcyclists to hit the road for a quick joy ride or long trip. In some parts of the country, that’s year-round.
To help keep everyone safe and avoid tragic accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges car and truck drivers to share the road with motorcyclists and be alert. The agency provides the following safety tips for when you’re behind the wheel:
1. Remember that motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the road.
2. Give a motorcyclist the full width of a traffic lane. Although it may seem like there’s enough space for your vehicle and a motorcycle to share the lane, the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely.
3. Keep in mind that motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, which can make it more difficult for you to judge the speed and distance when a motorcycle approaches.
4. Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before entering or leaving a lane and at intersections.
5. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows a motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
6. Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle–motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling, and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to make sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
7. Know that road conditions which might be minor annoyances to you can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their position within a lane suddenly in reaction to potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
8. Allow more following distance–three or four seconds–when driving behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Do not tailgate.
9. Be aware that motorcyclists often use their transmissions, not their brakes, to decelerate–meaning they might not activate their brake lights when slowing down.
10. For your own safety and that of motorcyclists, other drivers and pedestrians, never drink and drive.