May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and we would like to share these top five tips to drivers from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:
Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles. Because of their smaller size, motorcycles can easily be hidden in a car’s blind spots. Check and re-check before changing lanes or making turns.
Predict that a motorcycle is closer than it looks. A motorcycle may look farther away than it is because of its small size and it may be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into or out of a driveway, always predict that the motorcycle is closer than it appears.
Keep a safe distance. Motorcycles often slow by rolling off the throttle or downshifting, thus not activating the brake light, so allow more following distance, about 3-4 seconds.
Understand lane shifting. Motorcycles often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize effects of road debris, passing vehicles and wind. Understand that motorcycles adjust lane position for a purpose, not to show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
Motorcycle turn signals are usually not self-cancelling. Anticipate a motorcycle’s turn signals and make sure it is their intent to turn as sometimes driver’s forget to turn their signal off. Sometimes they do not have time to signal if they are trying to avoid potholes, grooved pavement, puddles or other debris that would present a hazard. Always allow space and do not drive alongside a motorcycle in your lane, only motorcycles can share lanes.
Motorists share the road with a variety of vehicles including motorcycles. Motorcycle usage is growing in popularity and all driver’s need to respect their space and be extra alert when driving amongst motorcycles. Let’s all share the road and remember it is the time of year to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”
For more information about motorcycle safety and classes visit the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning at www.michigan.gov/ohsp.