Driving Safely Around Motorcycle Riders

Driving Safely Around Motorcycle Riders

Driving safely is important when sharing the road with motorcycles. Fifty-six percent of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Due to the motorcyclist’s lack of protection, many of these collisions result in death or serious injury to the biker.  There are many reasons motorcycle collisions happen, from motorists not respecting the rights of bikers to not seeing a motorcycle nearby. Being aware of motorcycles and taking appropriate steps to avoid an accident is an example of driving safely. Let’s explore some reasons accidents happen, and look for ways to maintain a safe roadway experience for everyone.

Failure to See a Motorcycle

One of the most common reasons drivers give for hitting a motorcyclist is that they did not see them. While the excuse may sound like a violation of motorist responsibility at the outset, there may be a physical explanation for this. Let’s say that the driver is looking straight ahead at the car directly in his or her visual path. The motorist is literally staring at a central object for more than two or three seconds.

Often, there are other vehicles on either side of the motor vehicle, particularly on a highway. When motion is applied, the adjacent vehicles disappear. If the motion is decreased, the peripheral objects will fade rather than disappear completely. This visual illusion is called motion-induced blindness. This might be one way of explaining why so many drivers fail to see a motorcycle alongside their vehicles. Being aware that this happens, drivers can take steps to avoid an accident by checking their side and rear view mirrors.

Watch the video below made for the Morris Museum and presented here by attorney Ed Smith on motion-induced blindness:

Ways to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

There are things a driver can do to keep the road safe for motorcyclists. They are:

  • Remain alert while driving, and focus on the other vehicles around you.
  • Part of a motorist’s responsibility is to realize that motorcyclists deserve the same courtesy and respect you give to other drivers.
  • Learn that motorcyclists may be closer than your mirrors show.
  • Realize that driving can fatigue the eyes. If it’s a long commute after a day at work, stopping at a rest stop may help.
  • Don’t gaze at the vehicle ahead of you without looking to the side. It is vital to be aware of the whole road, particularly near on and off ramps.
  • Check twice at intersections to make sure there is no traffic before moving.
  • Leave a minimum of a 3-second difference between your car and the motorcycle in front.
  • Make sure to check blind spots before leaving your lane or turning.
  • If you pass a motorcycle, make sure they have their own lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists when possible.

A Few Other Examples of Driving Safely

There are a few things you need to know that specifically address sharing the road with motorcyclists while driving safely:

  • Remember, motorcycles are more susceptible to gusts of wind caused by a passing vehicle or truck. So the next time you pass one, make sure there is enough room for the biker to adjust for sudden instability. Let the biker know that you are intending to pass way ahead of doing so. Don’t pull back into the lane until you are a good distance from the motorcycle.
  • Rear-ending a motorcycle can be disastrous to the rider. Stay a decent distance away from it.
  • The effects of bad weather can be hard on both the motorist and the biker. Motorcyclists have a more difficult time in inclement weather controlling their bike. Motorists have a more difficult time seeing motorcycles.
  • Nighttime makes it difficult for motorcyclists. Make sure to turn off your high beams, and stay an appropriate distance from the bike.
  • Let a biker know you are going to turn ahead of time. Use your blinkers.
  • Once you see a turn signal activated on the bike, increase your following distance.

Elk Grove Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove motorcycle lawyer. Being in an accident can have horrible repercussions on a biker. It can cause financial and physical harm. When that happens to you, reach out to me at (916) 694-0002 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. I will review your accident and apply investigative methods to tell you more about your case. There is never a charge until you win. You can contact me online too if that is easier for you.

I’ve helped residents of Elk Grove for over 37 years obtain the compensation they deserve for personal injuries and car accidents, brain injuries, and pedestrian accidents.

I belong to the following organizations:

Learn more about my practice on the following pages:

Ed Smith: Driving Safely Around Motorcycle Riders

Photo Attribution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1d6kq984z4&feature=youtu.be; https://pixabay.com/photos/motorcycle-moto-bike-gopro-go-pro-345028/

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