Pay extra attention for motorcyclists as the summer driving season begins.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 3, 2010
Ride with your gear and become Hyperaware of your surroundings with more distracted drivers that we must "Share the Road" with.
As the weather improves, more motorcyclists are hitting the roads and with this in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers of all types need to be extra attentive in making sure we all ‘share the road’ safely. A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles and can often be hidden from view in a vehicle’s blind spot. Everyone needs to aggressively watch out for them.
It is crucial that drivers and bicyclists make visual checks for motorcycles by checking mirrors, blind spots and rights of way before entering or leaving a lane of traffic, crossing or turning into an intersection. Pedestrians are also reminded to scan for motorcyclists who might be hidden amongst other traffic.
Motorcyclists have responsibilities including following the rules of the road, being alert for other drivers, never riding while impaired or distracted, and always wear a DOT/SNELL certified helmet and other protective gear.
Sobering statistics reveal that motorcycle fatalities have steadily increased over the past decade. There was a 2 percent increase in fatalities from 5,174 in 2007, to 5,290 in 2008. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
Immediately following are several techniques for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
- Remember, the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
- Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
- Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
- Never drive while distracted.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
- Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.
- Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a SNELL/DOT-compliant and certified helmet.
- Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
- Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves.
- Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity.
- Positioning oneself in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
- Never driving while impaired.
The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: Make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. Help to share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”
On a more positive note, motorcycling deaths did decline to 4,762 in 2009, down 10% from the year prior thanks in part to both less miles traveled by all vehicles and safer driving by all concerned.
Objects in Mirror
This advertisement visually demonstrates the narrow swath that a motorcycle rider has in comparison to normal traffic. The headline, which reads "Objects in Mirror are More Vulnerable than They Appear", is a play on standard side mirror verbiage and serves to deliver the message that drivers need to be alert to motorcycle traffic and that motorcyclists are more susceptible to potential accidents and injuries. It also serves to remind motorcyclists of the dangers of the road and reminds them of their own infallibility and the fact that other vehicles may have difficulty in seeing them due to their smaller size. This poster is best suited for use at retail outlets, restaurants, grocery stores and other venues that would reach the general populace.
This advertisement depicts a lone rider on a country road and urges readers/drivers to be aware of fellow motorcyclists to keep them safe. The headline, which reads "Help Us Take Motorcyclists off the Endangered Species List", reminds drivers that motorcyclists face many more dangers on the road than automobiles. This poster is best suited for use at retail outlets, restaurants, grocery stores and other venues that would reach the general populace.