How Drivers Can Keep Bikers Safe
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that more than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2016 from crashes—a five percent increase from previous years. Many state Departments of Transportation have implemented statewide campaigns to remind car and truck drivers the importance of sharing the road. Despite their best efforts, the increase in motorcycle fatalities over the years indicates the number of passenger vehicle drivers who have yet to adopt a share the road with motorcycles mentality when behind the wheel of a car.
A vast majority of motorcycle crash fatalities come from two-vehicle accidents. With many people expected to ditch their cages for bikes in the coming decade, it’s important for drivers to always drive with motorcycles at the top of mind. Chances are, you’re not as good of a driver as you think are. Accidents happen, but there are things you can do to keep yourself, property and other drivers safe from negligence.
Here are The Carlson Law Firm’s 10 tips to keep motorcyclists safe.
1. Slow Down
Speeding is the leading cause of all car accidents. Speeding reduces a driver’s chances of seeing and reacting to other drivers. Because they are already difficult to see, passenger vehicles driving above the speed limit are particularly dangerous to motorcycles. The faster you drive, the less time there is to react to prevent a crash. In motorcycle crashes, speeding leads to a greater impact which can lead to more severe injuries and fatalities.
2. Take More Time To Check Blind Spots:
Switching lanes is already a dangerous act for passenger vehicles on the road. A car riding in your blind spot can be difficult enough to see. But, a motorcycle’s small size, makes it even more difficult to spot when changing or merging lanes. Take your time when you merge or switch lanes. By taking a few extra seconds to check each of your car’s blind spots, you just might save a life.
Biker pro tip:
A good rule of thumb for motorcyclists is to look into the mirror of a car or truck. If you cannot see the driver’s face, then you’re probably in their blind spot. Keep in mind that large trucks have a rear blind spot in the rear that may reach up to 200 feet.
3. Put the Devices on Hold.
Many states are adopting laws that prohibit cell phone use, but cars today are equipped with more features that take a driver’s attention from the road. It takes 27 seconds to get your mind to refocus on driving when you take a moment to mess with a device. Therefore, it’s best to program your GPS, select your music playlist and turn off text notifications before you put your car in drive.
4. Drive According to Road Conditions in Bad Weather.
When the weather is bad, it usually means motorcycles will have difficulty operating safely. A slick road, whether from rain or wintery conditions, may make it more difficult for you to break. Additionally, poor weather will reduce your visibility and will make it even more difficult to see a biker. Driving cautious will not only protect you, but it will protect any motorcycle drivers out and about.
5. Don’t Follow too Close.
Rear-ending a motorcycle is bad news. Because there is nothing surrounding the driver to protect them, you run the risk of causing a biker to be thrown from their bike. You can seriously injure or kill a driver if you follow too closely behind them.
6. Beware of Night Riders.
(No, not, KITT and Hasselhoff—that’s Knight Rider!) Riding at night can be extremely dangerous for motorcycle riders. It can be difficult enough to see them during the day, but at night it can be even harder to gauge speed, acceleration, or even distinguish between a one-headlight car and a motorcycle. Moreover, when you notice you are approaching a motorcycle, it’s best to keep your distance and make sure your high beams are turned off. You should always refrain from passing at night.
7. Stay in Your Lane.
Legally, motorcycles are entitled to their own lane of traffic. Under no circumstance are you allowed to drive your car in the same lane or in close proximity to a motorcycle.
8. Use proper turn signals
When a motorcycle is traveling behind you and you are coming up on a turn, putting your indicators on as soon as possible is not only courteous, but it is Safety 101. Alerting a motorcyclist of your intent to turn sooner than you normally can give them time to prepare for your turn and react appropriately.
9. Obey Posted Signs and Signals.
Intersections are danger zones for any vehicle, but for motorcycles, they can be deadly. Blind intersections present a great danger for motorcycles. It is important to remember that posted traffic signs and signals exist to keep you and other drivers safe. In addition to obeying the traffic signals or signs, it’s always a good idea to slow down and look both ways when approaching an intersection.
10. Triple Check When Making Left Turns.
Failure to yield the right of way to a motorcycle is the most common cause of a motorcycle accident. This is especially true at an intersection when the motor vehicle is making a left turn in the face of an oncoming motorcycle . Taking a few extra seconds to check, check and check again can save a life.
This blog post was submitted by The Carlson Law Firm.