A lot of the dangers that motorcyclists face are out of their control. Motorcycles are harder to see and much more responsive than a car – meaning they can turn stop and accelerate much quicker. Other vehicles on the road often follow too closely or don’t look for a smaller vehicle to be in their blind spot. While motorcyclists are often very safety-conscious it’s part of our responsibilities as drivers to do our part to keep the road safe too. Here’s how to drive safely around motorcycles:
1. Always check your blind spots.
It can be difficult to locate a motorcycle anywhere in your car’s blind spots. Avoid abrupt lane changes and always ensure you’re properly shoulder checking. You can also install blind spot mirrors and newer cars even have sensor technology that will let you know if someone’s in your blind spot. Be especially careful at intersections as that’s where most accidents happen because of blind spots.
2. Keep headlight beams low.
Make sure to turn your beams to low during daylight hours and dim them if you’re approaching a motorcyclist at night (head on or coming up behind). High headlight beams will momentarily blind anyone especially motorcyclists.
3. Keep a safe distance.
Tailgating is bad driving. It’s irritating and dangerous even if you’re tailgating a car but on a motorcycle it is extremely dangerous. A motorcycle can stop much quicker than a car can and if someone is following very close behind they can easily be hit if they need to stop suddenly. Keep a respectable distance when you’re driving behind a motorcycle (4 seconds!).
4. Use your indicator lights.
While this is elementary driving it’shocking how many people only do this after they’re already turning or don’t do them at all. Indicator lights (or turning signals) are meant to tell other drivers what you’re about to do so that they can take necessary steps. Motorcyclists are harder to see and sometimes weave in and out of traffic so indicating that you’re about to turn or change lanes is important.
While many of these tips arebasic driving etiquette they’re even more important when it comes to motorcycles. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and hopefully this makes how to drive safely around motorcycles simple and less daunting. As the weather grows warmer and motorcycles come out to play let’s all share the road safely!