Sharing The Road With Motorcycles
Many automobile drivers become frustrated when having to share the road with motorcycles. Yet, most accidents involving motorcycles and autos are the fault of the automobile driver. It is vital drivers of cars, trucks, and SUVs learn to share the road with motorcycles to avoid causing harm to motorcyclists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documented that nearly 5,200 motorcyclists were killed in 2017. The NHTSA promotes Motorcycle Safety, advising motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober. They also urge drivers to share the road by taking proactive measures to protect motorcyclists.
11 Proactive Measures To Share The Road With Motorcycles
Remember that motorcycles stop and turn faster than cars
The first thing you need to do is to remember motorcycles react differently than cars. Motorcycles can stop in half the distance and turn faster. You must maintain a greater following distance than that of cars to prevent rear-ending motorcyclists. A safe distance is particularly vital if you drive a large, heavy vehicle as being hit even by a small car is potentially fatal for a motorcyclist.
Do not drift in your lane
Lane-splitting is when a motorcycle passes between to rows of traffic. It is a controversial subject in which legality varies from state to state. In North Carolina, lane-splitting is not specifically prohibited and therefore, motorcyclists commonly lane-split in the state. Despite which side of the controversy you land on, the safety of motorcyclists should always trump personal opinion. Do not drift in your lane. Keep your vehicle straight and steady since a nudge from your vehicle could end in disaster.
Signal your turns
Motorcyclists often see you before you notice them. That is why it is vital you signal your turns and lane changes. The best practice is to turn on your blinker, wait for a minimum of three blinks, and then change lanes or turn when it is safe. This way, the motorcyclists can properly react regardless of your awareness of them.
Check your blind spots
Do not rely on your blinkers to clear the way. Nor should you trust your side mirrors to reveal a nearby vehicle. Always, always check your blind spots. Make certain to see for yourself that your blind spot is clear. It can mean the difference between life and death.
Be extra cautious when passing motorcycles
Take more time to pass a motorcycle than you would a car. Do not accelerate while behind the motorcyclists since they can suddenly slow down and stop much quicker than cars. Signal first, pass on the left when it is legal, and do not re-enter the lane until you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle.
Take weather into account
Bad weather is especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. Rain, hail, and snow are obvious hazards, but windy conditions are also a threat to motorcyclists. Help riders stay safe by being extra vigilant in bad weather.
Look twice when turning left
Take a second look before making a left turn across an intersection or lanes of traffic. The last thing you want is for a motorcycle to T-bone your car when you are mid-way through a left turn. This kind of collision has high fatality rates for motorcyclists and even automobile motorists.
Be extra vigilant at night
Motorcycles, like all vehicles, can be toughter to spot at night than during the day. To be fully aware of your surroundings, you must intentionally look for motorcycles in addition to other vehicles. Give motorcycles even more space when following or passing after dark. Also, be sure to turn off your high-beams when driving behind motorcycles or when they are approaching.
Beware of intersections
Intersections are danger zones and the site of many vehicle accidents. Whether at a stop sign or a traffic signal, always look both ways before entering an intersection. If it is a blind intersection, proceed slowly and keep checking the intersecting lanes until you know it is clear.
Put the phone down
You should never text while driving under any circumstance. Texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. It is a lethal habit that can make you fully to blame in an accident situation. The distraction of texting or even talking on your cell phone increases your chances of overlooking a nearby motorcycle. If you are finding the habit hard to break, download a No Texting While Driving App to proactively protect yourself and others from the dangers of distracted driving.
Control your emotions
Road rage leads to accidents, injury, and death. Drivers should never act out of anger. Chasing, bumping, and blocking motorcycles could land the motorcyclists in the hospital and you in jail. It’s not worth it, and you will regret your actions for years to come. Take slow deep breaths and let your frustration go.
Consequences Of Not Sharing The Road With Motorcycles
Sharing the road with motorcycles is a matter of life and death. The ultimate consequences are death for the rider, jail for the driver, and a lifetime of guilt. There are also other legal consequences that you, as the driver in a motorcycle collision, may suffer.
If you have been in an accident involving a motorcycle, whether you were driving the automobile or riding the motorcycle, you should contact a personal injury attorney to advise and protect you from legal implications. If you live in Asheville, NC or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Fisher Stark P.A. for a free consultation at 828-505-4300.
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Buncombe County and all of Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher, and Brad Stark – have more than 40 years of trial practice, and have participated in more than 1,000 personal injury & accident cases. Call Fisher Stark, P.A. at 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.