While traveling, it’s likely you’ll see a number of different vehicles. Motorcycles are often the smallest on the road; however, there are more than 90,000 registered to drive on Kentucky’s roads. No matter what you drive, it’s important to be aware of how to operate your vehicle safely when you’re sharing the road with motorcycles. This can help reduce the significant number of accidents that take place every year.
According to the Kentucky Traffic Collisions Facts report, there were 1,669 motorcycles involved in 1,624 crashes in Kentucky during 2017. Nearly 1,000 of those accidents resulted in injury and 86 caused the death of 90 individuals. If you take the following tips into consideration when sharing the road with motorcyclists, you can aid in the prevention of deadly crashes.
Always check your mirrors and blind spots.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents has to do with other car or trucks not seeing the smaller vehicles. Because of their size, motorcycles can be difficult to spot while merging or changing lanes. On larger vehicles, the shape of the bike or rider is also more likely to blend in with the other images in rear-view and side-view mirrors. When merging, take time and devote several seconds to search your car’s blind spots before proceeding.
Be cautious and aware when passing.
While it’s completely legal for you to pass a bike like you would any other vehicle, there are extra precautions you should take. Use your signal and pass efficiently. It’s a good idea to make sure you are several car lengths in front of the motorcycle before you merge back to the right. Informing the motorcyclist of your intentions will give them time to stabilize and prepare for any additional wind coming from your vehicle.
Allow for extra following distance.
Motorcyclists don’t always need to brake to slow down their vehicles. They can roll off the throttle or downshift. Because of this, you may not always see brake lights when they slow down or intend to stop. If you’re too close, you could rear-end the bike. Allow for three to four seconds of following time when driving behind a motorcycle.
Understand the night-riding for motorcycles can be more dangerous.
It can be more dangerous for motorcyclists to operate their vehicles at night. They only have one headlight, compared to your two, so they might not experience as much visibility that you do. To help riders drive safe, increase your following distance and make sure your high beams are turned off. If possible, refrain from passing a motorcycle at night, as well.
Be aware of the weather.
If you’ve ever driven in inclement weather, you know how stressful and potentially dangerous it can be. For motorcycle riders, the effects are even more drastic. Rain or snow and ice can make it almost impossible for motorcyclists to operate their vehicles safely. Windy conditions can also make riding more challenging. If you notice a motorcycle nearby while you’re traveling in poor weather conditions, remember to slow down and remain patient.
Stay in your lane.
Just because motorcycles are smaller doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to their own lane of traffic. In absolutely no situation are you allowed to drive your vehicle in the same lane as a motorcycle. It does not matter how much room there is. If you are not in a passing zone, you will need to wait until you are to proceed ahead of them. Sharing a lane with a motorcycle is illegal and can quickly result in an accident.
Use your turn signals.
While mentioned before in regard to passing, it’s also important to inform motorcyclists of your intent to turn. Not only is it courteous, but the sooner you inform a rider of your plans to make a turn, the sooner they know how to change their speed.
Use caution in intersections.
Intersections can be danger zones for any vehicle. Motorcycles often have issues at blind intersections and when they plan on turning. Drivers do not always see when a motorcyclist plans to turn and can collide with the bike and seriously injure the ride. Be aware of how intersections function, so you know who has the right-of-way.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle wreck, you can take legal action. If another driver’s negligent decisions caused your accident, it’s likely you could be eligible for compensation that could assist with your crash-related medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. To learn how best to proceed based on the specifics of your claim, get in touch with us at your earliest convenience.