Experts say that approximately 66% of motorcycle-and-car collisions are the fault of the car's driver, not the motorcycle rider. The reason is that all too often it is difficult to see a motorcyclist, or car drivers see them too late.
Motorcyclist fatalities have been on the rise. In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes — an increase of 8% from the 4,594 motorcyclists killed in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Reducing motorcycle fatalities — and keeping your fleet drivers safe — begins with an understanding of how to safely share the road with motorcyclists. Experts offer the following advice:
Stay Mindful of the Road
Be aware that motorcyclists may appear suddenly, especially on scenic roads. Eliminate any distracted driving behavior like eating or tuning the radio while you are behind the wheel so you are always ready to respond.
Listen for Motorcyclists
Remember that your ears may help you identity a motorcyclist sooner than your eyes. Keep ambient noise inside your vehicle to a minimum so that you are more likely to hear the sounds of other vehicles on the road.
Be Aware of Your Blind Spots
Even if you properly adjust your side mirrors, due to their compact size, a motorcycle can disappear in your blind spot. Don't rely solely on your mirrors; make it a practice to quickly turn your head and look for any motorcyclists before changing lanes.
Maintain an Ample Following Distance
When a motorcyclist is in front of you, leave ample room in case sudden braking is necessary. After all, motorcyclists are exposed to the open road, leaving them quite vulnerable if they do get hit.
Statistics show that the single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car—often because the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is going straight through the intersection.
To learn more about how to safely share the road with motorcyclists, watch the California DMV's video here.