The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and its getting warmer every day. Without a doubt you are going to see more motorcycles on the road. Right now that guy down the block is polishing up his Harley and getting ready to pull it out of the garage for the first time this spring if he hasn’t already. More than 9 million riders will hit the streets and trails with their two-wheelers according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
While bikers take safety courses and inspect their bikes to make sure the chance of driver error mechanical failure is kept to a minimum while riding their bikes, they also need the car driving public to help keep things safe by being aware this time of year and all throughout the summer.
The MSF issues a list of “motorist awareness tips” that will take only a minute to read and might spare someone the pain of losing a loved one to a preventable death.
- 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). Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.
- 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.
- 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 thoroughly check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
- Because of its small size, a motorcycle may seem to be moving faster than it really is. Don’t assume all motorcyclists are speed demons.
- Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say three or four seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- When a motorcycle is in motion, don’t think of it as motorcycle; think of it as a person.
Taking a few minutes to know these simple safety suggestions could go a long way toward avoiding you being a part of one of those tragic motorcycle/car accidents we see almost every summer night on the news.
Follow Vinnie @nyvinnie
Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.