Two fatal motorcycle crashes recently have put into sharp relief the necessity of proper motorcycle safety. The process starts long before the key ever meets the ignition, and ends, hopefully, in a safe trip home rather that a trip to the ER, or even worse, a slow trip to the morgue.
It’s a process that involves everyone on the road, not just those who choose to ride.
- There are many more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don't "recognize" a motorcycle. They ignore it (usually unintentionally). Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.
- Because of its small size, a motorcycle might look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
- A motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic, whether you're changing lanes or turning at intersections.
- A motorcycle might seem to be moving faster than it really is. Don't assume all motorcyclists are speed demons.
- Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
- Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
- Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can't always stop "on a dime."
- When a motorcycle is in motion, don't think of it as motorcycle; think of it as a person.