Play Your Part in Biker Safety
With more than 8 million motorcycles on America’s roads and an accident rate way above that of four-wheeled vehicles — riders are 37 times more vulnerable than car travelers — one way or another motorbikes and bikers are always in the news.
But while we know motorcycling is a potentially high-risk activity, the fact is that many of those risks arise because other road users don’t give these machines and their riders the attention they deserve.
That’s the thinking behind Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which happens in May every year. It’s marked by a plea to drivers of all other vehicles and all road users to “share the road” with motorcyclists and to be extra-alert to help keep riders safe.
Of course, motorcyclists themselves also have a key role to play in having regard for each other and for motorists.
“Throughout spring and summer the number of motorcyclists on the road will increase. It is important for both motorists and motorcyclists to be aware of one another,” says David Teater, National Safety Council (NSC) senior director of Transportation Initiatives. “To better defend themselves, motorcyclists should follow the rules of the roadway and wear protective gear, including a Department of Transportation compliant helmet.”
Ready to play your part? Whether you’re a car driver or motorcyclist, here are 6 safety suggestions from the NSC:
- Allow more distance following a motorcycle than you would for a car.
- At an intersection where you plan to turn left, be especially alert for motorcycles coming from either direction. They’re easy to overlook.
- Never try to share one lane between a car and a motorcycle.
- Motorcyclists should avoid riding in bad weather.
- Both car drivers and motorcyclists should be aware of a driver’s mirror blind spot when, for a few seconds, the bike cannot be seen. This is especially important when changing lanes.
- Always use turn signals — for every turn or lane change. That goes for drivers and motorcyclists alike.
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