May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This year’s National Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awareness campaign is entitled, Get up to Speed on Motorcycles. It’s designed to help motorists understand standard motorcycle driving behaviors and learn how to drive safely around them on our roadways.
Below, are some tips for motorists and motorcyclists for sharing and keeping safe on the roadways.
TIPS FOR MOTORISTS:
ALLOW A MOTORCYCLIST A FULL LANE.
Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road… but not the lane. A motorcycle needs room to maneuver safely.
USE YOUR MIRRORS PROPERLY TO LOOK FOR MOTORCYCLES.
Improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contribute to collisions, especially with motorcycles. About 40% of a vehicle’s outer perimeter zones are hidden by blind spots. Improper adjustment, or lack of use of the side-view mirrors lead to accidents.
GIVE THE MOTORCYCLE PLENTY OF ROOM.
Because of a motorcycle’s speed and size, they can often cause drivers to misjudge their distance. Give the motorcycle about three to four seconds of space ahead of you. This will also give the rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Remember they may have to make a sudden change in speed or adjust their lane to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams and grooved pavement.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY A MOTORCYCLE’S TURN SIGNAL.
Some motorcycles, especially the older ones, may not have self-cancelling turn signals. A rider may have also forgotten to turn them off. Wait to make sure the motorcycle is actually turning before you proceed.
BE CAREFUL AT NIGHT.
Motorcycles are more difficult to see at night. Their single headlight can make it harder for a motorist to determine their distance. When you see a single headlight coming toward you in the opposite lane, exercise caution.
KEEP THE VOLUME DOWN.
Even if you can’t see the motorcycle, you may be able to hear it if you keep the volume down on your entertainment system. When the volume is up, you lose the advantage of being able to hear what’s going on outside your vehicle such as oncoming motorcycles, emergency responder sirens or even other passengers.
TIPS FOR MOTORCYCLISTS:
SELECT THE RIGHT BIKE.
For new riders, this can be a little overwhelming. Don’t choose your motorcycle simply based on its “looks.” Consider a bike’s overall power, wet weight, power-to-weight ratio and what you’re going to be using it for. That second bike can be chosen for its “looks.”
GET EDUCATED AND GET A LICENSE.
Riders should be able to find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course in their region. MSF courses are designed to develop a novice rider into an excellent one. The courses develop knowledge, skill, attitudes and habits associated with safe and responsible riding.
The NHTSA reported that in 2019, 30% of all motorcycle riders involved in a fatal crash did not have a valid license.
WEAR A PROPERLY FITTING HELMET & FACE SHIELD.
Motorcycle helmets save lives. To help protect the lives of riders, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218. This standard defines minimum levels of performance that helmets must meet to protect the head and brain in a crash.
NEVER DRINK & DRIVE.
The NHTSA estimates that in 2019, 29% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle accidents were alcohol impaired. It’s simply not worth the risk. A DUI costs $10,000 on average and can lead to jail, loss of your license and higher insurance rates.
Never assume that a motor vehicle driver can see you. Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider’s right of way. Always ride with your headlights on, use your turn or hand signals, stay out of a driver’s blind spot and always be on the watch for turning vehicles.
FOLLOW ALL TRAFFIC RULES & SPEED LIMITS.
Obey all speed limits. Keep in mind the faster you go, the longer it’s going to take to stop.
Blue Line Insurance Agency specializes in motorcycle coverage. Our agents will shop the best motorcycle insurance companies and find you the best coverage at an affordable price. For a FREE no-obligation quote visit https://bluelineagency.com/personal-insurance/motorcycle-insurance or call 518-523-4321.