As drivers of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, we have the responsibility not only to share the road, but also to take proactive measures to increase the safety of motorcycle riders who we encounter on our way. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 4,965 motorcyclists were killed in 2015. While some of these accidents were single vehicle accidents, the majority involved automobiles.
Many accidents involving both motorcycles and automobiles are the fault of the automobile driver. In addition to being constantly aware that a motorcyclist may be in close proximity to your vehicle, here are five things that you can do to help keep motorcyclists and yourself safe:
Double check your blind spots
Motorcycles are much smaller than any sedan or coupe offered on today’s market, making it difficult to spot a motorcycle when changing lanes or merging. The shape of a motorcycle and rider is also more likely to blend into the images you see in your side-view mirrors than that of a larger automobile. Dedicate several seconds to search each of your car’s blind spots before proceeding with your intended maneuver.
Practice caution when passing
It is lawful to pass a motorcycle in the same way you would an automobile, assuming that you are driving on a section of roadway that allows passing. However, the gust of wind that results from your increase in speed as you pass could cause the motorcycle to become unstable and blow the rider off of the road. Make sure you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle before entering your desired lane.
Motorcyclists react quicker than cars
Make sure that you maintain an adequate following distance behind motorcycles. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal to the rider, particularly if you drive a large, heavy vehicle.
Watch for turning motorcycles
Self-cancelling turn signals were not standard on motorcycles until the late 1970s. There are still many motorcycles on the road today that do not have the self-cancelling turn signals that we are now accustomed to. If you notice that a motorcycle is driving with an activated turn signal for an abnormal distance, increase your following distance so that you have time to react whenever the rider decides to turn.
Take a second look before making a left-turn
Before you cross a lane or lanes of traffic to turn left, take a second look for approaching motorcycles. Vehicle accidents involving the collision of a left-turning car and an approaching motorcycle can be very severe, often times because the motorcycle t-bones the car while it is mid-way through the left turn.
There are no minor fender bender accidents for a motorcyclist. Any accident could become fatal or leave a motorcyclist permanently injured. Take caution this summer and be aware of those on two wheels. If you are hit on a motorcycle or hit by a motorcycle, contact an attorney to learn your rights.