How to Share the Road With Motorcycles
On October 16, 2016, a motorcyclist and his wife were cruising near Interstate 85 on Highway 24. Around 3 p.m., a car traveling on the same road made a turn and crossed in front of the motorcyclist. The driver of the motorcycle and his wife were both ejected and, sadly, the husband was not wearing a helmet and was killed, as reported by local news. Both his wife and the driver of the car were also injured and had to be taken to nearby hospitals. Situations like this happen every day when car and motorcycle operators make mistakes while driving. Unfortunately for the cyclist, the lack of protection offered by a motorbike usually means that injuries are difficult to avoid and death sometimes occurs. While proper protection like helmets should always be worn, there are many things fellow drivers can do to protect motorcyclists.
Increase Your Following Distance
Typical rules for following don’t apply when you are behind a motorcycle. Motorcycles can react more quickly than passenger vehicles and may not give much warning before stopping. It can also be more difficult to notice when a motorcycle is stopping or slowing down since they have smaller brake lights than bigger vehicles.
Extend Your Warning Time
If the situation is flipped and a motorcycle is following you, be sure to indicate actions sooner than you normally would. Turning signals and brake lights need to be applied earlier to give the motorcycle time to signal the change to the following cars. Pile-ups are dangerous, but they are more often fatal when motorcycles are involved.
Double Check Blind Spots
It is difficult to see a car in your blind spot, but it can be impossible to see a motorcycle. The small size reduces visibility and makes it necessary to check more thoroughly before changing lanes. Also be sure to leave more room between you and the motorcycle if you need to change lanes. Cutting a cyclist off could lead to mistakes and crashes since they are less steady than a car.
Beware the Weather
If you are driving during adverse weather conditions and notice a motorcycle on the road, be extra cautious. Rain and snow may be difficult for cars to travel in, but they are even harder for motorcycles. The driver can be distracted by the weather and more susceptible to mistakes. Motorcycles also have less weight and can easily slide across ice.
A good habit to establish is to heighten all your senses if a motorcycle is around. Slow down, stay focused on the road and watch your blind spots more carefully to reduce accidents involving less-protected motorists.