The nice thing about living in Southern California is that motorcycle aficionados can ride during most of the year since the weather is typically warm and pleasant enough.
For drivers of other vehicles in the Los Angeles area, it means they need to be on guard for motorcycles and take reasonable care to avoid serious accidents.
To some extent, this means just taking the same steps as a driver would ordinarily. As in any case, drivers need to be attentive, check their blind spots and avoid risky behavior like distracted driving and speeding.
This is especially true since motorcycles are harder to see, and unprotected motorcyclists are much more likely to suffer severe injuries after even a low-speed impact.
Motorcycles have unique features that require drivers to take extra caution
In addition to just practicing ordinary safe driving habits, motorists also need to be aware of certain unique characteristics of motorcycles.
Not being ware of these features can lead to drivers making mistakes that can wind up causing an injury or even fatal accident.
For example, motorcyclists frequently choose not to apply their brakes when slowing down, often for safety reasons. Instead, they will opt to let up on the throttle or downshift if they need to slow down more quickly.
If a driver following a motorcyclist is not doing so from a safe distance, or is just not paying attention, the driver can be caught unawares when the motorcyclist slows down, as the bike’s brake lights may not come on.
As another example, at intersections, drivers may have a hard time judging how fast an oncoming motorcycle is approaching from the driver’s left or right.
A driver who is in a hurry may choose to pull into the intersection thinking they have enough time to cross before the bike arrives. Too often, the driver has mis-judged and will cut the motorcyclist off.