Tips for Safely Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

POV of a motorcyclist riding on the road

As the weather turns warmer here in Kentucky, you’ll probably notice our roads filling up with more folks on motorcycles. This is because motorcyclists love cruising our roads in the spring and summer, taking advantage of the great climate in the Bluegrass State. But for many motorists, the thought of sharing the road with motorcyclists can be nerve-wracking. These drivers are worried about having an accident with a motorcycle that could result in severe injuries to the rider. In addition to the toll it takes on one’s conscience when putting another person in the hospital, there are also concerns about lawsuits. In fact, there were over 1,575 crashes involving motorcycles last year according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make your drive safer and help you avoid having a collision with a motorcyclist.

1. Keep a Safe Distance

If you are riding behind a motorcycle, keep a longer distance than you would if you were behind a car or truck. This is because motorcycles can maneuver and stop more quickly than most motor vehicles. Give yourself more time by keeping your distance.

2. Check Your Mirrors

Whether you drive a car, truck, or SUV, your vehicle is going to come equipped with a pair of mirrors on the side and a rearview mirror set in the middle of the interior windshield. Try to get into the habit of checking all three mirrors on a routine basis. This will help you remain aware of the vehicles around you. It will also alert you if there is a motorcycle riding beside or behind your vehicle. If you are towing a trailer, many new models of trucks feature a trailer-view image on the infotainment screen. This allows you to see behind your truck like the trailer isn’t there. Try to keep this engaged when trailering.

3. Use a Signal

Kentucky law requires the use of signals whenever making a turn or changing lanes. However, many drivers ignore this rule. This can lead to accidents as the other driver won’t know of your intentions and cannot take action to avoid you. When you change lanes or make a turn without signaling and a motorcyclist is involved, this can have catastrophic results. Motorcyclists rely on seeing the signals from vehicles in front of or adjacent to the lane in which they are riding. This is why it is vital to always use your signals.

4. Be Aware of Blind Spots

One of the most common causes of accidents is changing lanes when there is another vehicle riding in your blind spot. This is the area on each side of your vehicle around the rear fenders. Many side-view mirrors are unable to see in this area and you may not see a motorcycle riding in your vehicle’s blind spot. Many newer models have a blind spot identification system that uses cameras and sonar to detect vehicles that might be riding there. These can help but they are not 100% effective. This is why you should always check twice before changing lanes.

5. Limit Distractions

Most models of cars, trucks, and SUVs come with advanced infotainment systems. These allow you to connect your phones so you can make hands-free calls and texts. They also let you stream your favorite music through your vehicle’s audio system. Nevertheless, they can also create a distraction. A momentary lapse of concentration while driving can have fatal consequences, especially when a motorcyclist is involved. When a driver becomes distracted, they may not notice their vehicle slowly drifting into an adjacent or oncoming lane. If you are going to make a hands-free call or text, take a sip of water, or access the various entertainment options on your vehicle’s infotainment system, first check to make sure you are not around other vehicles, especially motorcycles. Try to stay focused when driving in traffic.

6. Adjust to Weather

We get our fair share of inclement weather in Kentucky, especially rain in the springtime. If you are out for a drive and a shower pops up, you need to adjust your driving to these conditions. Keep in mind that your visibility will be limited, so you won’t be able to see motorcycles as far off. Also, motorcyclists may need to adjust their speed to deal with the rain. If you are behind one, be patient and wait for the weather to clear.

7. Be Mindful When Passing

If you are riding behind a motorcyclist, make your intentions clear from the outset. Signal to change lanes, and make sure the motorcyclist isn’t trying to change lanes as well. Once you make your passing move, act cautiously. Keep in mind that motorcycles can maneuver more quickly than your vehicle. Those extra few seconds of patience and caution can help you avoid a collision with a motorcycle.

8. Respect Lanes

If you are driving on a multi-lane road, stay in your lane unless you are passing or coming to a turn. Frequent lane changes increase your chances of having a collision.

9. Be Cautious At Intersections

A great many accidents can occur at intersections, especially if they are not properly controlled. While many have traffic lights or clearly marked stop signs, others might not have any stop signs at all. This is especially true in rural and suburban areas. If there is no stop sign, slow down before crossing to make sure there is no cross traffic. Proceed through once the coast is clear. If you don’t check, you may not see a motorcyclist coming from the side, leading to an accident. 

10. Obey Speed Limits

You should always obey local speed limits. These have been set by experts who understand the road conditions, traffic capacity, and general aspects of the road on which you are driving. Exceeding the speed limit puts you and other drivers at risk. Excessive speed also lowers the time you have to react to take evasive action if a motorcyclist or other motorist enters your lane, while increasing the amount of distance you need to bring your vehicle to a safe stop. Observing the posted speed limit will also reduce your chances of getting a costly traffic ticket.

11. Drive Sober

Never drive drunk or under the influence of a controlled substance. This includes driving while taking a medication that can cause drowsiness. When you drive in this condition, your reaction time is delayed and your judgment is impaired. This will increase your chances of an accident, particularly one with a motorcycle. Not only is driving under the influence illegal in Kentucky, but it also puts you and every other person on the road at risk of severe injury or death.

If You Are Involved in an Auto Accident, Call Our Firm Today

Getting involved in an auto accident can be a very traumatic experience, especially if it results in personal injuries to you, your passengers, or another motorist. Accidents with motorcycles increase the risk of personal injuries. Call the Dickman Law Office today so that our experienced auto accident attorneys can provide you with the representation you need to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Posted in: Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury