May was National Motorcycle Safety month and it is about time we wrote a recap of basic Motorcycle safety. Promoting motorcycle safety is no easy task as informing motorcyclists of safer riding habits only gets you so far. Teaching all motorists how to spot motorcyclist before making a left turn, watch for motorcyclists’ lane splitting and not follow motorcyclists closely involves lessons for both drivers and riders alike.
For drivers, when approaching a left turn, look and listen for oncoming motorcyclists. Many drivers will see cars in the distance and assume that traffic is clear for them to make a left turn. Do not let yourself fall victim to this trap of false security. It is on you to see the motorcyclists approaching the intersection. For riders, wearing high visibility gear and early detection of a driver not making eye contact with you can save your life. However, it is important to focus on the road and the remaining surroundings in addition to the car waiting to make a left turn.
Lane splitting has been a controversial topic in California and now that it is officially legalized in safe practices, it is more of a hot button topic than ever. For riders, it is important to stay within the flow of traffic. Excessive speeds when lane splitting leave no room for error on the driver’s behalf and your own. For drivers, before you initiate a lane change, be sure to check your mirrors for oncoming motorcycles. The last thing you want to do is sideswipe a motorcyclist as they pass you.
Lastly trailing a motorcycle rider can be extremely dangerous. Motorcycles on the whole can stop quicker than cars. As such, following a motorcycle similar to how you might a follow a car in close traffic could easily cause you to rear-end the motorcyclist. Unlike hitting a car that has a crumple-zone and multiple airbags, motorcycles leave their riders significantly more vulnerable to serious injuries even from slower collisions.