In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, which is an increase from 2011, writes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Whether you drive a monster truck, two-door sports car, a motorcycle, or a good old bicycle, you can do your part to make the roads safer for everyone. In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we put together a list of safety tips for both drivers and motorcyclists!
When sharing the road with a motorcycle…
- Use your turn signals, check your mirrors, and double-check your blind spots. Pay particular attention in low light or bad weather, when it can be especially difficult to see motorcycles. Make sure they see you, and take the time to take a second look in your mirrors.
- Never try to pass them in the same lane. You may think that the motorcyclist can move to one side of the lane, or that because they’re smaller, they don’t need the whole lane. Treat a motorcycle like any other car and give them enough space in all directions.
- Give them more space than you would a car, in fact. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, motorcyclists will slow down by downshifting or rolling off the throttle, which do not activate the brake light. So, allow for more following space between your car and the motorcycle and know that the motorcyclist could slow down without a visual warning.
When navigating traffic…
- Prepare by wearing the right gear. In the event of an accident, a helmet and full-body gear could mean the difference between a minor injury and a more serious! According to the Cochrane Collaboration study, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury on a motorcycle by 69%. Having a helmet that fits correctly is the first step to gearing up for safety, and having motorcycle insurance is one of the smartest ways to ride.
- Drive like you’re invisible. Sounds funny, but the NHTSA suggests pretending you’re invisible to other drivers when you’re on a motorcycle, as they will often behave like you are. This kind of mentality can help you navigate defensively when driving in busy traffic.
- Check the weather forecast before you ride. Summer weather can be unpredictable. You could leave your house on a sunny morning only to be caught off guard by a summer thunderstorm in the afternoon, making it unsafe for you to ride home. Check the forecast or be prepared to wait out the storm.
Motorcyclists and drivers alike can download the DirectDrive App to monitor their driving behaviors and have fun competing against family and friends. How do you think we can make the roads a safer place for motorcyclists? If you’re a motorcyclist, how do you want to see things change out there? Let us know in the comments below!