Tips to help drivers, motorcyclists share the road

share the roadMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The month is intended to increase awareness and encourage drivers of all other kinds of vehicles and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each other.

At MotorEagles we promote motorcycle safety and awareness all year long. As part of MotorEagles, we have started the “Save A Life – Look  Twice” campaign. The campaign aims to:

  • Increase driver awareness
  • Increase rider visibility
  • Promote driver and rider training
  • Promote rider safety
  • Encourage patience and tolerance
  • Protect rider rights
  • Limit rider injury

Motorcyclist fatalities increased slightly in 2010 to 4,502, accounting for 14 percent of total fatalities for the year. A 2009 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute found that more than half of fatal motorcycle accidents involved at least one other vehicle. In 42 percent of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle crashes, a vehicle was turning left while a motorcycle was going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.

Many times, the other driver in the passenger vehicle simply didn’t see the motorcycle coming because he didn’t take the time to look for something other than a car or a truck coming toward him. But as more and more motorists are buying and riding motorcycles, the chances of crossing a bike’s path are increasing.

All it takes is a few seconds to save an oncoming motorcycle rider’s life. By looking not once, but twice in each direction before pulling out, motorists will give themselves enough time to spot an oncoming motorcyclist.

Here are some helpful tips for drivers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to keep motorcyclists safe:

  • Remember that a motorcycle is a vehicle with all the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle
  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width – never try to share a lane
  • Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals may not be self-canceling and motorcyclists sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more following distance – three to four seconds – when following a motorcycle so the rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Under dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings and grooved pavement.

The MotorEagles safety team believe this is one of the most preventable causes of death and injury on our roadways today. Please help us spread the word that just taking one more second to look twice really can save a life.

But not everyone will look twice and motorcycle accidents will still occur. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact a local attorney or the motorcycle attorneys at Elk & Elk at 1-800-ELK-OHIO.

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