Drivers Be Aware: Motorcycles are Back on the Road

Madison County Sheriff’s Office

(Wampsville, NY- April 2013allen riley) As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads. And with that in mind, drivers of all vehicles, whether you’re driving an SUV, passenger car or truck, need to be extra attentive and make sure you share the road.

“Motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot, so everyone needs to really look out for them,” said Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley. “It’s crucial that motorists always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.”

Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. They should follow the rules of the roadway, be alert to other drivers, and always wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle occupants in the event of a crash.

Research shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a traffic crash. Riley offers several tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:

* Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights, responsibilities and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width – never try to share a lane;

* always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections;

* always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;

* don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling, and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed; and

* allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency, and DON’T TAILGATE.

In addition, Riley said motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

* Avoid riding in poor weather conditions;

* wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;

* using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;

* combining hand and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;

* using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity; and

* positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.

“Help to share in the responsibility, and do your part by safely sharing the road,” Riley said.

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