Every driver on the road has a responsibility to be proactive in sharing the streets and helping keep motorcycle riders safe. Motorcyclists can drive on any street and are potentially at a much higher risk than vehicle drivers. Motorcyclists can’t experience a fender-bender, because their body is entirely exposed and would take much of the impact. Many collisions involving a vehicle and motorcycle can cause life-threatening or severe harm to the motorcycle rider, like cellular level brain damage or even full-body paralysis.
It’s essential to realize that a motorcyclist could be driving alongside your car at any moment. Here are additional ways you can improve your safety and the safety of bikers around you.
Keep an Eye on Your Blind Spots
Since motorcycles aren’t as big as cars, they can be much harder to see when switching lanes or merging. Get into the habit of merging slowly and search all of your vehicle’s blind spots before you shift lanes.
Take Extra Care When Passing
While it’s legal to go around a slower motorcycle just like you would a car in legal passing zones, the difference in speed can be enough to push the motorcycle rider forcefully out of their lane. Try to leave extra space between your car and the motorcycle before passing (more than you typically would when passing another vehicle.)
Night Driving Dangers
Once night falls, you can help keep motorcyclists remain safe by allowing more distance when driving behind them. It can also help a great deal to turn down your brights (high beams) if you see that a motorcycle is approaching. The law is to dim high beams when an oncoming vehicle is approaching within 500 feet.
Be Wary Near Intersections
Many collisions involving motorcyclists and vehicle drivers take place near intersections, and blind intersections are the most dangerous. Always drive slowly and check all directions for oncoming traffic.
Don’t Get Too Close
It’s perfectly legal for motorcycles to take up an entire traffic lane. However, a car is never legally permitted to drive in the same lane as a motorcycle, even if it might seem like there is enough space. Getting too close to a motorcycle is illegal and can cause a dangerous collision.
Keep in Mind that Motorcyclists have a Slower Reaction Time
It’s harder to see bikers sometimes, but a rear-end accident involving a motorcycle can be life-threatening to the biker who didn’t see it coming because of the decreased reaction time. Those who drive heavy, large vehicles always need to allow more space and to be hyper-aware.
Consider the Impacts of Extreme Weather
Harsh weather is much more challenging to deal with when you’re riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car or truck. Slick roads and windy gusts can make driving conditions difficult and treacherous. Inclement weather reduces visibility for everyone and makes it harder for motorcycle drivers to keep traveling, so it’s helpful when vehicle drivers can be extra cautious if they see a motorcycle out in a storm.
In summary, accidents have a much more significant impact on motorcyclists than they can on vehicle drivers. All drivers are responsible for doing everything they can to be extra careful and try to help prevent all types of collisions.