Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles
On average, a motorcyclist dies in a crash on Texas roads every day. In 2018, 417 riders lost their lives and 920 were seriously injured in crashes. More than half of fatal motorcycle crashes result from collisions with other vehicles. Drivers simply don't see the motorcycle or misjudge its distance and speed. The small size of motorcycles can make them appear further away than they actually are. The combination of congested roadways, distracted driving, and the difficulty of seeing motorcycles in traffic has led to many preventable fatalities each year.
Driving with a motorcycle near you isn't like driving with other cars. Motorcycles are often smaller and harder to see, plus they don't have the safeguards of metal framing, seatbelts, or airbags when it comes to protection from collision. That's why drivers sharing the road with motorcycles need to be extra careful, so everyone arrives at their destination safely.
Here are a few important ways drivers can observe motorcycle awareness safety:
Always signal, check mirrors, and check blind spots.
These behaviors are good habits to begin with, and they are doubly important when sharing the road with motorcycles. Because they are more compact, motorcycles may go unnoticed at a casual glance before a lane change, especially in low light or bad weather.
Large vehicles – be alert!
If you are driving a big truck or van, you already know that your vision can be limited. Your blind spots are larger than those of other vehicles, making it harder to see smaller cars and motorcycles around you. Be cautious when making turns or changing lanes by keeping in mind that a biker might be harder to see.
Give them the whole lane.
You may think that because motorcycles are smaller and don't take up the entire lane, it's alright to pass them in the same lane. Think again. Give a bike the full lane, the same way you would any other car and driver.
Treat motorcycle turn signals with caution.
If you approach a motorcycle with an activated turn signal, wait a moment to see what they do. Unlike cars, most motorcycle signals often aren't self-canceling, so the driver must remember to manually turn the signal off. Give yourself and the motorcyclist a moment to ensure they are actually turning.
Give motorcycles extra following and passing distance.
Many motorcyclists often slow down by only rolling off the throttle or downshifting, so you may not always see brake lights to alert you of a bike's stop. Allow 3-4 seconds of following time for motorcycles, and always assume a bike will brake when approaching a stop at an intersection. Drivers who cut-off or pull in front of a motorcycle without allowing enough space can force the rider to over-brake, slide, and fall.