It can be much different to drive with a motorcycle nearby than having larger cars around that are all easy to see. Some people even get nervous driving near motorcycles due to how fast they can appear to be going and their ability to criss-cross through many lanes of traffic.
However, motorcycle drivers are required to follow the rules of the road just like everyone else so there really is little cause for worry. “Motorcycles can seem as if they are hidden due to their smaller size, and they don’t have added collision protection that vehicles do like a sturdy frame, airbags, or even seatbelts,” stated Edward D. Friedman, personal injury lawyer in Jericho, NY.
All drivers need to take actions to help keep everyone on the road safer, and the following tips are just a few that can help to increase the safety of our friends on motorcycles.
1. Look again, carefully.
Bigger vans and trucks will need to be especially careful because of their blind spots, but all drivers should look twice before pulling out to turn or changing lanes. Bikers can be much harder to see than a standard sized car. Signal every time and glance at your mirrors; these important habits can be the difference between life and death in bad weather or low light conditions.
2. Give the rider more than enough passing and following distance.
Be generous with the road. Not all motorcyclists use their brakes to stop, which means that brake lights might not come on if the driver downshifts or eases off the throttle. There should be 4 seconds between a motorcycle and your vehicle after it to have enough following distance (in other words, if a motorcycle passes a flag on the road ahead and then you pass it 2 seconds later, you’re too close).
It’s not uncommon for a vehicle driver to unintentionally cut-off a motorcyclist if they don’t make sure there’s enough space between the car and the bike. A motorcycle driver could skid and fall if they have to over-break, and allowing extra space can calm your nerves too.
3. Let motorcyclists have the entire lane.
It’s not okay to pass someone on a motorcycle in the same lane, it’s required by law to go around the whole lane. Some drivers believe that motorcycles take up less space so it’s not going to hurt them if they don’t have as much room, but it’s just not safe.
4. Pay extra attention to turn signals.
A turn signal is manual on a motorcycle, which means that they may be on but the driver may not be turning. Be careful if you see that a motorcycle has their turn signal turned on because there’s a chance that the driver forgot to turn it off. In situations where a turn signal is on but you’re unsure of how to proceed, it’s best to yield to the motorcycle so that no one gets hurt.