May is Motorcycle Awareness Month – Ten Tips for Cars & Trucks

Across the country, during the month of May, many cities and towns will be hosting events to promote Motorcycle Safety Awareness. Below is a list of ten tips offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation that drivers of cars and trucks should consider, helping ensure the safety of themselves and motorcyclists on the road:

  • The amount of cars and trucks on the road far outweigh the number of motorcycles, drivers should make an effort to look out for motorcycles, especially at intersections.
  • Since a motorcycle is the smallest vehicle on the road, it can be hard to judge the distance and speed of the bike. When turning at an intersection or into (or out of) parking lots and driveways, one should assume the vehicle is closer than it appears.
  • Due to the smaller size of a motorcycle, it can be hidden by trucks or large vehicles, or in a car’s blind spot.  Take extra caution when changing lanes or turning at intersections.
  • Many people assume motorcycles are always traveling fast, once again, considering the size; the motorcycle may appear to be traveling faster than it really is.
  • Just because you don’t see brake lights doesn’t mean the motorcycle isn’t slowing down.  Motorcyclists slow down when downshifting and pulling off the throttle, so the brake lights aren’t activated, if it appears they are slowing down near an intersection there may not be any visual warning.
  • Unlike a car, once you make the turn, the turn signals do not turn off until the driver turns them off.  Be aware that sometimes, especially early in the season, bikers need to remember this feature; sometimes common sense will tell you that this bike is not turning and the turn signal is on in error.
  • Often motorcyclists will change lanes or adjust lane positions if they see road debris or to minimize the effect of passing vehicles and wind.  Car and truck drivers shouldn’t assume bikers are being reckless when adjusting in a lane, the motorcyclist’s actions are often for a legitimate reason.
  • Even though motorcycles are easily maneuvered, don’t expect that they can get out of the way quickly, experience riders make it appear easy, but beginners do not have the skills to make abrupt, quick maneuvers caused by cars not seeing them.
  • Slippery conditions require a longer stopping distance for motorcycles.  Be sure to increase the following distance behind a motorcycle during rainy or wet conditions.
  • Finally, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that when you see a motorcycle on the road; think of it as a person, not a motorcycle.

These simple tips could prevent or minimize an accident, so share them with your friends and help make the roads safer for everyone.