Driving with a motorcycle near you isn’t like driving with other cars. Motorcycles are often smaller and harder to see, plus they don’t have the safeguards of metal framing, seatbelts, or airbags when it comes to protection from collision. That’s why drivers sharing the road with motorcycles need to be extra careful so everyone arrives at their destination safely.
Here are some important ways drivers can observe motorcycle safety.
Always signal, check mirrors, and check blind spots. These behaviors are good habits to begin with, and they are doubly important when sharing the road with motorcycles. Because they are more compact, motorcycles may go unnoticed in a casual glance before a lane change, especially in low light or bad weather.
Large vehicles, watch out! If you are driving a big truck or a van, you already know that your vision can be limited. Your blind spots are larger than those of other vehicles, making it harder to see smaller cars and motorcycles around you. Be cautious when making turns or changing lanes by keeping in mind that a biker might be harder to see.
Give them the whole lane. You may think that because motorcycles are smaller and don’t take up the entire lane, it’s alright to pass them in the same lane. Think again. Give a bike the full lane, the same way you would any other car and driver.
Treat motorcycle turn signals with caution. If you approach a motorcycle with an activated turn signal, wait for a moment to see what they’ll do. Unlike cars, most motorcycle signals often aren’t self-cancelling, so the driver has to remember to manually turn the signal off. Give yourself and the motorcyclist a moment to ensure they are actually turning.
Give motorcycles extra following & passing distance. Many motorcyclists often slow down by only rolling off the throttle or downshifting (instead of outright braking), so you may not always see brake lights to alert you of a bike’s stop. Allow for 3 to 4 seconds of following time for motorcycles, and always assume a bike will brake when approaching a stop at an intersection. Drivers who cut-off or unintentionally pull in front of a motorcycle without allowing enough space can force the rider to over-brake, slide and fall.