In light of the good news that motorcycle fatalities were down last year, here are some driving tips on sharing the road with motorcyclists. Let's hope that trend stays alive in 2010. These tips were culled from the California Driver Handbook. You may want to pass this list along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- When you change lanes or enter a major thoroughfare, make a visual check for motorcycles. Also use your mirrors. Motorcycles are small, and they can easily disappear into a vehicle's blind spots.
- Allow a four-second following distance. You will need this space to avoid hitting the motorcyclist if he or she falls.
- Allow the motorcycle a full lane width. Although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe.
- Never try to pass a motorcycle in the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle.
- When you make a turn, check for motorcyclists, and know their speed before turning.
- Motorcycles may travel faster than traffic during congested road conditions and can travel in the unused space between two lines of moving or stationary vehicles, which is commonly called "lane splitting."
- Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to you pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement can cause motorcyclists to change speed or direction suddenly. If you are aware of the effect of these conditions and drive with care and attention, you can help reduce motorcyclist injuries and fatalities.