It’s spring! Time to hit the road and take in the beautiful scenery: rolling hills, green leaves and… orange barrels. Unfortunately, motorcycle season is also road construction season. While all motorists should slow down and pay attention while traveling through work zones, these areas can be especially dangerous for bikers.
With uneven roads, loose gravel or even debris littering your path, it’s no surprise that motorcyclists need to practice a heightened level of awareness when traveling through construction zones.
Tips for navigating construction zones
- Be alert. Watch out for brake lights on vehicles ahead of you. If you watch traffic around you, you will be able to react more quickly.
- Merge into the proper lane. Be courteous to other drivers and merge well before you reach any lane closures.
- Don’t tailgate. Riding closer will not make traffic move faster. Please follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
- Obey the posted speed limit. Remember, workers may be present just a few feet away from you. In Ohio, speeding fines are doubled in active work zones. Always be prepared to slow down further if conditions apply.
- Change lanes safely. Only change lanes where pavement markings indicate — and only when traffic conditions permit.
- Expect the unexpected. Workers, work vehicles, or equipment may enter your lane without warning. Other vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly.
Look Out for Construction Zone Hazards
With unpredictable surface conditions and poorly marked lanes, work zones can pose serious hazards for motorcyclists. Always stay alert and keep your eyes peeled for dangerous conditions, including:
- Rocks, debris or loose gravel in the road
- Uneven pavement
- Steel plates
- Raised manhole covers
- Shifting lanes
- Standing water
- Sudden traffic stops
- Workers near the road
- Roadways without shoulders
- Trucks entering the highway
Know Construction Zone Laws
Construction zone laws and penalties for violations differ widely from state to state. Visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website for a comprehensive list of state-by-state construction laws.