7 Reasons Why You Need To Keep An Eye Out For Motorcyclists When Driving
Year round, bumper stickers and billboards encourage us to watch out for motorcycles on the road. And with good reason! Motorcycles are a high-risk category of vehicles, and accidents can be fatal. As Spring and Summer approach, it’s even more important to be aware of motorcyclists on the road.
And here’s why.
1. They’re easier to hit.
Motorcycles are some of the most vulnerable drivers on the road. By the nature of their choice of vehicle, motorcycles are smaller and easier to miss. They move quickly and can blend into the pavement, so they’re at a much higher risk for being in an accident.
2. Crashes are often fatal.
Accidents on motorcycles are more likely to be fatal for the rider. Without the protection of air bags or bodywork, collisions almost never occur without causing injury to the rider.
3. Motorcycles attract thrill seeking riders.
Due to the inherent risks of driving a motorcycle, people who ride motorcycles are typically less risk-averse and less cautious than other drivers on the road. Excessive speeding and poor riding skills are a dangerous combination when paired with high-risk vehicles. This means you should be extra cautious around them when you’re driving.
4. Cars are usually the ones in the wrong.
More likely than not, if there’s an accident between a motorcycle and a vehicle, it’s typically the driver who made the mistake. Motorcycles are harder to see than other cars, and their size makes it easy to be surprised by them. When you check your blind spots, you’re unconsciously looking for cars, not bikes. Remember that when you’re driving near a motorcycle, you’re more likely to make a mistake than the rider is, so be careful.
5. It’s hard to tell how fast they’re going.
It’s easy to misjudge the distance of an oncoming motorcycle. If you’re turning left, you may assume that the motorcycle coming toward you from the other direction is going slow enough that you can clear the intersection, but motorcycles are much faster and lighter than cars, so your mental calculation for the distance is likely to be inaccurate. Intersections are a common site of accidents for this reason, so be extra cautious when judging distance and speed.
6. Motorcycles can brake much faster.
Because they weigh so little, a motorcycle can decelerate much quicker than a car. If you’re driving too close to a motorcycle, if the bike can brakes quickly you may not be able to react in time. Always leave plenty of following room.
7. It’s more dangerous at night.
Like all driving, the risk goes up when there’s less light to see by. This is especially true with motorcycles, which often only have one headlight. For drivers used to seeing two lights, you may overlook a single headlight or mistake it for part of the landscape. Be double alert for motorcycles on the road when it’s dark out.
The next time you hit the road, keep your head up and remain alert for motorcycles on the road, and remember to increase your following room when you’re driving behind one. Stay safe, and drive carefully!