Summer Motorcycle Safety
With the beautiful summer weather we’ve been having, there are more motorcycles than ever on the highways. Due to their relatively small size, they are not always easily visible to the larger vehicles on the road and thus can present a potential risk of accident. It’s important to be aware of them when on the road and give both extra space and extra attention to the two-wheeled cousin of the car.
Motorcycle fatalities have also been climbing,
reaching 5,290 in 2008, the highest level since the Department of Transportation began collecting data in 1975. There has also been a dramatic jump in the number of deaths among motorcyclists age 40 and older in recent years.
We hope these tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation will help keep you and motorcycle drivers safe:
- Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle – they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
- Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
- Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
- Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
- Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
- Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.
- Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
- Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”
And for relevant and topical insurance information, as well as risk-management solutions, visit us at our website; you can browse insurance information, watch educational insurance videos, or get a quote.