Motorcycles: Sharing the Road

The sun is coming out, which means it will soon be riding season again for Motorcyclists. It is important to remember that Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.
Equally as important is to remember that these vehicles are smaller, unprotected, and have special driving techniques that must be respected to keep everyone on the road safe. Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself, as well as the motorcyclists safe. Hopefully you can learn a little bit more about why motorcyclists do certain things on their bikes, and we can have a much safer riding season this year!
· Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem as though there is enough room in the traffic lane for an automobile and a motorcycle, remember the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
· Approximately one-half of all motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. Nearly 40 percent were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist.
· Motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than vehicles, which can make it more difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
· Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
· Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
· Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals usually are not self-cancelling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
· Remember that road conditions which are minor annoyances to you pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
· Allow more following distance, four to six seconds, following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.