Motorcycles are a big part of summer driving. Many people prefer the freedom of two wheels on the open road during the summer months. Whether it be discovering scenic back roads on a cruiser or burning up the highway on a sports bike, the fact is there is nothing quite like the feeling of open air and warm sunshine on your face as you ride. While this can be a freeing experience, it is not without its own set of dangers.
Motorists should be conscious of motorcycles while sharing the road with our two-wheeled friends. Motorcycles can be easy to miss due to their size. They are smaller than vehicles and are more easily hidden in drivers’ blind spots. Be sure to look twice before switching lanes or making a turn – it could save a rider’s life.
Road conditions affect motorcyclists differently than motorists. Inclement weather or sub par road conditions such as potholes, sand, road debris, etc. can cause a rider to take evasive action quite abruptly. Be sure to leave enough room between yourself and a motorcycle to be able to stop safely if the motorcyclist in front of you must take evasive action.
Not only should motorists be more aware of their surroundings, motorcyclists can also do their part to help drivers notice their presence. A motorcyclist should never assume that a motorist can see them. Wear reflective or brightly colored clothing while riding to make it easier for drivers to see you. Always use your headlight when riding on the highway, even in the middle of the day. The light may catch a motorist’s eye before the rider does. Using high beams or a modulating headlight is also recommended.
Proper lane position is also very important when riding a motorcycle. Be sure to position yourself so that you can see a vehicle’s side mirrors. If you can see their side mirror than it greatly increases the likelihood that the motorist can see you as well. Give yourself plenty of clearance between you and surrounding vehicles to avoid finding yourself in blind spots.
Weaving through traffic is also a very dangerous tactic. Do not attempt to weave in between cars or share lanes with vehicles. Drivers may not see you or expect you to be alongside them in between lanes. If they change lanes or turn unexpectedly you could be seriously injured. This is especially true in heavy traffic. When traffic is stopped many riders will drive in between cars to weave their way through traffic. Drivers will often change lanes in a futile attempt of getting a little bit further down the road and this can create a serious accident.
So, the next time you hop in your car or hop on your motorcycle for a cruise, remember these safety tips so that everyone gets to their destination safely. Do you know of any additional tips that would be helpful to motorists or motorcyclists?
Safety tips obtained from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.