Both vehicles are “street legal,” but it is easy to see that there is a huge difference between motorcycles and cars. While motorcycles are involved with more accidents and fatalities overall, over half of such incidents involve contact with a car. One driver is encased in safety and the other is exposed to the elements– even with full safety gear, motorcycle operators are always at greater risk. If you are a car driver and you want to courteously and safely share the road with motorcycles, keep reading for Martin G Schulz’s guide to avoiding these accidents.
Most safe drivers know to identify and regularly check their blind-spots to be as aware as possible of their surroundings. One such behaviour is “shoulder checking” before turning or changing lanes– many drivers do this on instinct or habit, but one should always deliberately turn their line of sight as much as safety allows. This allows you to survey the road not shown by the angles of your rear-facing mirrors, a common blindspot for motorcycles. Also, your brain may be looking for cars– but this can create a false sense of security that causes you to miss smaller or larger vehicles when glancing back casually.
Many of us know the “five second rule” that allows you to guiltlessly enjoy a tasty snack plucked off of a dirty surface…! When it comes to driving, there is a rule of thumb known by a series of names: from the three-second rule to the five-second rule. The varied time window refers to how much time should elapse before you approach an object– a road sign or a crack in the pavement– after the vehicle ahead of you passes it. Typical city drivers give about 2.5-3 seconds of courtesy to the vehicles ahead of them, but 4-5 seconds is the safer choice– especially if motorcycles are in the mix.
Car drivers have a tendency to take their safety and comfort granted, especially when inclement weather arrives unexpected. While it can be easy to criticize when you are sitting in a climate-controlled interior with a variety of conveniences and protections, none of us can predict the weather and motorcycle drivers have to adapt their riding to the conditions. In a sudden downpour, windstorm or other road hazards, safe operation of a motorcycle includes moving slower, swerving to avoid debris or even sudden stops.
As with any other pedestrian, cyclist or driver, if in doubt of their intentions: attempt to make eye contact with a motorcycle operator to understand. Tinted helmet visors or car windshields may prevent direct eye contact, but it is human nature to seek the eye-area to communicate. Making yourself look directly at someone else on the road also acknowledges them as an equal, which unconsciously causes you to drive safer around them.
Motorcycles seem to move fast, but always remember they are lighter vehicles with quicker acceleration– they may arrive at the speed limit faster than you, but it is not reckless if it suits the conditions. The above tips are only some of the things car drivers can do to avoid motorcycle-car accidents. If you or your employees are at risk of these types of incidents, it may be wise to contact or visit Martin G Schulz & Associates to understand your legal liability.