Automobile drivers, not motorcyclists, are responsible for more than two-thirds of car-motorcycle crashes. Many times, drivers don't see the motorcyclist until it's too late to avoid a crash.
Advice to Drivers
Keeping these ideas in mind can help prevent accidents.
Remember that motorcycles can be easy to miss.
Motorcycles are already more difficult to spot than cars because of their smaller profiles, and drivers are conditioned to look for other cars, not motorcyclists.
Traffic, weather, and road conditions require motorcyclists to react differently than drivers, so it is often difficult to judge and predict when riders may take evasive action.
This means drivers must always be aware of their surroundings. Remember: Check twice, save a life.
Know when crashes are likely to occur.
You are more likely to be involved in an accident with a motorcycle when:
- You are making a left turn in front of a rider.
- A motorcyclist is riding in your blind spot.
- There are hazardous road conditions. Potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other obstructions may force a motorcyclist to take an action you don't expect.
- You have an obstructed line of sight. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks may block motorcyclists from your view.
Be more aware of motorcyclists.
Remember that motorcyclists have the same privileges of other drivers. Be sure to give riders a full lane of travel, and always keep a close watch for motorcyclists--especially at intersections and on highways.
Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuvers. A piece of road debris that poses no threat to a car may be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive moves a motorcyclist might take by always being aware of your surroundings. Also, don't follow motorcycles too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
Advice to Riders
Keeping these ideas in mind can help prevent accidents with automobile drivers.
Help drivers know you're there.
Don't assume you are visible to a driver. As a motorcyclist, it is your responsibility to make your presence known to drivers. Select and wear an appropriate helmet with retroreflective materials. A DOT-approved motorcycle helmet is your most valuable piece of protective gear and should be visible to drivers. Wear bright, contrasting protective clothing. If you wear dark clothing, wear a fluorescent vest.
Use headlights while riding on the highway, and use high beams rather than low beams. Also consider a modulating headlight.
Proper lane position is important. It helps drivers see you and protects your riding space. Remember, if you can see a driver in the side-view mirror, the driver can see you. Don't "hide" in a driver's blind spot, and always signal before making a move. Never weave between lanes.
Remember, there is no one safe place to ride. Use lane positioning to be seen and to provide extra space for emergency braking situations or avoidance maneuvers. Never share a lane with a car. Drivers may not expect you alongside their cars and may not be aware of your presence.
Know when crashes are likely to happen.
You are more likely to be involved in an accident when:
- A car is making a left turn in front of you.
- You are riding in a driver's blind spot. Drivers may not know you're there, and they sometimes fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or making a turn.
- There are hazardous road conditions. Potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other road obstructions may force you to make a move a driver does not anticipate.
- You are obstructed from the driver's line of sight. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks can block a motorcycle from a driver's view. This means you may seem to appear suddenly.