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Advice for Driving Near Motorcycles

11
January

According to information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 80% of motorcycle crashes resulted in a fatality for the rider or passenger of the motorcycle involved. This is a shocking but understandable statistic when one considers the construction of a motorcycle and the fact it provides no protection for the rider in a crash. It is extremely important for those drivers in automobiles, in trucks and in large transportation vehicles pay attention to the rode and those around them while driving. While car occupant may only incur minor injuries if their vehicle is involved in an incident with a motorcycle, it is highly likely the motorcycle rider will be injured or killed. This is true even of very minor incidents on the road. What would be a fender bender for two vehicles could very well be a major fatality for someone on a motorcycle.

It is important to always pay attention to a vehicle’s blind spots when driving in a town or on the open highway. During extremely weather, vehicle windows may be rolled up and climate control turned on, which makes it difficult to hear traffic sounds outside the vehicle. When the weather is good, for those who like to drive with their windows down, motorcycles are more likely to be heard when approaching a vehicle from behind. A few extra seconds physically checking the blind spots of a vehicle before turning or changing lanes can mean the difference between life and death for a motorcycle rider. Most motorcycle training courses recommend riders remain in a vehicles blind spot for a minimal amount of time; however, not all riders on the road have taken a training course and not everyone is aware of this recommendation. There are motorcycle riders on the road who assume they have the right-of-way, no matter what.

Checking blind spots is not the only way to give motorcycle riders a fair chance to survive on the road. It is always a good idea to check ahead before passing a slower vehicle that may be impeding traffic. Especially on two lane highways, which are frequented by motorcycle riders of all ages, an oncoming motorcycle may not be visible to an impatient driver wanting to go a little faster than the slower car in front of them. The results of a head on collision between a full size vehicle and a motorcycle are more often fatal than not. The human body is just not meant to take a full speed impact with the pavement and survive. The equivalent would be similar to falling off of a four to five story building and landing square on the ground below.

There is significant responsibility on the part of the motorcycle rider to assume the drivers around them cannot and will not see them on the road. Drivers can make the road significantly safer for everyone by taking the extra time to pay attention to all of the vehicles around them, including motorcycles. No driver should assume all motorcycles are loud and will be heard before they are seen. Not all motorcycles sound like thunder rolling down the road. Modern engines and exhaust systems can serve to make motorcycle quieter than they were in the past. It is important to follow the rules of the road that apply to all vehicles, including following all signs and traffic lights, giving the right-of-way where necessary.

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