Sharing the road with motorcycles means that car drivers need to be careful of riders to prevent accidents. Both riders and drivers can take steps to avoid motorcycle accidents. Preventing crashes is important, since the fatality rate for motorcyclists in accidents is 80%, and riders are 16 times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here are a few tips to keep the road safe for cars and motorcycles.
Tips for Drivers
- Look when making a turn or changing a lane. Check your surroundings extra carefully for a motorcycle before turning or changing lanes. If making a left across a motorcyclist who is going straight, try to make eye contact with the rider.
- Check your blind spots. A car can easily hide in a blind spot, and a motorcycle can disappear even easier. Monitor your blind spots constantly, and check them before changing lanes or turning.
- Signal your turns and lane changes. Unexpected changes in your direction can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Use your blinkers to indicate which direction you will move before you begin to move.
- Allow more space. Motorcyclists should be given extra space when you are following them. Allow about 4 seconds of space so you have time to react to an unexpected event. Calculate the distance you need by allowing the rider to pass a landmark beside the road, such as a sign. Count the seconds until you pass the object too. If the time is less than 4 seconds, slow down and increase your distance.
- Be courteous. Motorcyclists may have a more difficult time in bad weather, darkness, and traffic. Allow them more space and be careful to watch for riders when driving to keep everyone safe.
Tips for Riders
- Wear a helmet. The NHTSA estimates that 37 out of every 100 motorcycle riders killed in accidents could have survived if they had worn a helmet. When selecting a helmet, ensure it meets all Department of Transportation standards.
- Be visible to drivers. Wearing bright colors or reflective strips can help, but your riding habits can make the biggest difference. Never ride in drivers’ blind spots, and make sure that you are seen before changing or splitting lanes.
- Learn good techniques. Riding a motorcycle requires skills and knowledge about the capabilities of your bike. If you know what you can expect from your motorcycle under various conditions, you can maneuver through dangerous situations. You need to learn to navigate poor weather, bad road conditions, curves, and how to safely brake.
- Avoid hazards on the road. Roads are littered with dangers for motorcyclists. From debris to water or dirt on the road, these hazards pose a far greater risk to riders than to drivers. Understand how your motorcycle handles and what sort of hazards are common where you ride.
- Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol and riding don’t mix. It is illegal to ride a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being intoxicated can slow your reaction time and decrease your balance, which can lead to an accident.
- Maintain your bike. Your motorcycle can only operate at its best if properly cared for, so be sure to regularly service your engine, check your lights and signals, and have your tires and brakes changed as needed.
- Wear protective clothing. Gloves, helmets, riding suits, boots, and eye protection can help protect you from bugs and road debris, as well as protect you from the pavement if you are forced to lay down your motorcycle.
Riding safely can help prevent accidents, but if you are injured in a motorcycle accident because of someone’s negligence, you need the dedicated legal representation of our Forth Worth motorcycle accident attorneys. Our seasoned team of compassionate lawyers will help you recover your deserved compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Office of James M. Stanley today for a free consultation.