With spring officially here, temperatures will start rising again and that means more motorcycles on the road. Sharing the road with motorcyclists poses a host of safety issues that fleet drivers need to keep in mind.
Motorcycles are especially at risk for a collision when a car or truck is turning left at an intersection and the motorcycle is approaching in opposing traffic. Many drivers have difficulty judging the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle, so they might begin their left turn when they should in fact yield to the motorcycle. This tendency increases the risk for a T-bone or sideswipe crash.
Additionally, motorcycles can easily disappear into a vehicle’s blind spot because they’re so small in comparison to cars and trucks.
In general, drivers need to be especially cautious around motorcycles. In 2013, more than 4,600 motorcycle fatalities were reported in the U.S.
Here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA you can pass along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder:
- Remember that motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway. Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width. Don’t try to share the lane.
- Keep in mind that motorcycles are more difficult to see. Make the extra effort to look twice. Remember, it’s more difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
- Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look because of their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
- Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle. Motorcycle signals usually aren’t self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
- Don’t forget that road conditions that are minor annoyances to you pose major hazards to motorcyclists. As a result, motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their 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.
- Allow more following distance – three or four seconds – behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
- Be extra cautious on weekends, when more motorcyclists take to the road.
To view a video that offers tips on sharing the road with motorcyclists, click on the photo or link above.