There’s nothing like getting ready to hit the road, turning the keys in the ignition, pulling out of the driveway… and immediately being hit with traffic. Talk about a buzzkill.
Bicycles, cars, pedestrians, scooters, motorcycles. Everyone seems to be going everywhere in every direction all at the same time these days. So, we have to learn how to share the road if we want to get to our destinations safely.
It is especially important for motorcycles and cars to learn to share the road. The number of motorcyclists has been increasing over the years. Car drivers are used to ruling the road, but now they need to be ever aware of their motorcycle friends.
And motorcyclists can do their part as well. There are driving techniques and tactics that every rider should follow to ensure safety for everyone on the road.
So how can we learn to all get along and keep the road a happy place?
Here are some tips and tricks for sharing a busy road for motorcycle riders and car drivers.
For Car Drivers
Give riders the whole lane
Many drivers assume motorcycles don’t need as much room in the lane since they’re smaller. This is not true. Motorcycles are legally allowed the full lane of traffic, so make sure you give it to them.
Check mirrors and blind spots
It’s extremely hard to see motorcycles when they’re in your blind spot or if they’re riding between lanes. Failure to check mirrors and blind spots is the leading cause of accidents between cars and motorcycles.
Drivers, take your time before merging lanes. Expect a motorcyclist to be there, so you won’t be surprised when they really are.
Be aware of weather conditions
Motorcycle riders are completely exposed to the elements, and stormy or windy conditions can make it impossible to ride. Riders can lose control completely in bad weather, so expect the unexpected.
And remember, rainy weather affects visibility for car drivers as well, so be extra cautious for motorcycles that might be hard to spot.
Give motorcycles more distance
Driving a motorcycle is different than driving a car, so you need to allow them more space to do their thing. You may not see brake lights on a motorcycle while it is slowing down or even coming to a stop. And if you cut-off a motorcyclist, you could cause them to overbreak and potentially fall off their bike.
Take Turns Carefully
Many accidents involving a car and a motorcycle occur in intersections. It can be especially dangerous when a car is making a left turn and misses an oncoming motorcycle. The motorcycle will end up t-boning the car which can be fatal.
Take the extra time at intersections to be on the lookout for motorcycles, and follow traffic procedures as always.
For Motorcycle Riders
Know your limits
If you are a novice rider, don’t try to ride like the experts. There’s a big difference between an easy cruise around town and weaving in and out of high speed traffic. If you want to test your limits to improve your riding, try enrolling in an advanced riding course at a motorcycle dealership.
Be alert always
Distracted driving is a huge problem on the road these days. But it’s even more important for motorcycle riders to stay focused while driving. Motorcycles are hard to spot, so you need to be on the defense. Watch out for unaware car drivers and anticipate their moves, rather than assuming that they see you. Messing around with your phone or GPS could end your life in a matter of seconds.
Practice your spacing
Each bike stops a little differently, so you need to get a feel for how your bike runs. Practice stops until you master stopping at a safe distance from the car in front of you, and maintain that distance while riding.
Also, if you are riding in a group, make sure to maintain a safe distance from each other and stay aware of other vehicles around you.
Have an escape plan
Always try to have an escape route (like the road shoulder) to move into if someone in front of you slams on your breaks. Also, if you are stopped at a light and a car comes speeding behind you, it’s good practice to leave your bike in gear and have an escape route in mind.
Going for a ride on your motorcycle can be both thrilling and relaxing. Whether you’re just taking a ride or have somewhere to be, you should always be aware of your surroundings and use best practices to share the road with other vehicles and pedestrians. You can’t always predict what the vehicle in front or in back of you might do, but being prepared to share the road will always put you in the best place to have a safe and exciting ride.
Do you have any road-sharing tips to share? Drop them in the comments below!
Andrew Clayton writes for IDriveSafely.com, the online driver education company that is on a mission to keep our roads safe and drivers informed.