Written By Melissa Jabour
Nicer weather means that motorcycle enthusiasts tend to be on the roadways more often. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there are more than 800,000 licensed motorcyclists in our state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that motorcyclist deaths occur more than twenty times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles. As more and more people turn to motorcycles as their mode of transportation, it is important for everyone on the roadways to keep in mind that safe, defensive driving and riding are paramount to reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Motorists:
- Keep a watchful eye out for motorcycles, and beware of your blind spots. Because of a motorcycle’s narrow profile, it can be easily hidden in a car or truck’s blind spots. Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, especially when changing lanes or turning at an intersection.
- Follow the 4-second rule. Increase your driving distance when you are driving behind a motorcycle, and maintain a cushion of at least 4 seconds.
- Slow down behind motorcycles. Motorcycles do not handle the same way as cars and can be much more sensitive to changes on the road.
- Stay in your lane. Motorcycles are entitled to their own lane of traffic. Attempting to drive your vehicle in the same lane and in close proximity to a motorcycle is illegal and dangerous.
- Treat motorcycle turn signals with caution. Unlike cars, most motorcycle signals are not self-canceling, so the driver has to manually turn the turn signal off. Give yourself and the motorcyclist a minute to ensure that he or she is actually turning.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:
- Be sure your motorcycle is safe. Before every ride, check the tire pressure, brakes, headlights, and signal indicators.
- Avoid weaving between lanes, and be aware that “lane splitting,” or driving a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic traveling the same direction, is illegal.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wear proper clothing. Arms and legs should be completely covered, and wearing brightly-colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other drivers.
- Ride defensively. Do not assume that you can be seen by drivers at all times.