The month of May is known for many things: the first signs of summer, barbeques, campfires. It is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, drivers should expect to see more motorcycles on the road. Windshield Center has some tips on how to safely navigate sharing the road with the bikes.
Motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road, which alter their appearance in side and rearview mirrors. They can appear to be driving faster from further away, giving drivers in cars a false sense of the road. Drivers should be more aware of their blind spots, especially when switching lanes or turning. Nearly half of the fatal car vs. motorcycle accidents in 2013 occurred when the car was attempting to make a left-hand turn and the motorcycle was continuing to go straight. Part of the reason for this is because many motorcycles do not come equipped with self-canceling signals, so the signal is often left going for longer than necessary. You should make sure you make eye contact with upcoming cyclists before proceeding with your turn at any intersection.
It is also important to note that motorcycles handle differently than cars. Because they are more lightweight than a car, motorcycle control is more likely to be affected by wind and weather conditions, such as rain or debris blowing in the street. While all drivers should note the weather and change their driving habits accordingly, you should take extra note of motorcycles and give them extra room as a safety precaution for them and for yourself. Your car will take longer to stop, and will require more force. Keep cycles and other drivers in front of you safe by following the four second rule: pick a landmark ahead, like a mailbox, and count. If you reach the landmark before you reach the number four, slow down. If you are passing a motorcycle on the road, make sure you are several car lengths ahead before getting back into your lane.
Whether you’re on the road in a car or riding a motorcycle, make sure to drive safely this summer! If you run into problems with your windshield, side windows or mirrors, contact Windshield Center at (800) 900-1505.