Every year, as winter begins to give way to spring, motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere start gearing up for the riding season. For them, nothing can quite compare to the freedom and exhilaration of driving cruising city streets, rural roads, and highways on two wheels.
However, driving a motorcycle comes with some inherent risks. In fact, motorcycle drivers are 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident than passenger car occupants. That’s why the month of May has been declared Motorcycle Safety Month.
What Is Motorcycle Safety Month?
Motorcycle Safety Month was established to help protect motorcycle drivers on the road. It serves not only to remind motorcyclists of the dangers of riding but also to increase their awareness and the awareness of other motorists.
As a car or truck driver, it’s easy to overlook a motorcycle on the road or lose them in a blind spot. For motorcyclists, it’s easy to get complacent, start taking unnecessary risks and become over-confident in your riding skills.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Sharing the Road
Whether you drive on two wheels or four, we all share the road with one another. As such, it’s vital to respect the safety and livelihood of everyone on the road. Both motorcyclists and passenger car drivers need to exercise increased caution and awareness to prevent motorcycle crashes.
The question is, what can we all do to minimize the risk of accidents, injuries, and deaths?
1. Motorcycles – Properly Prepare to Ride
It’s important for motorcycle drivers to perform a motorcycle safety check before hitting the road each time. This is especially important after a long winter of not riding. They should perform regular maintenance checks on the bike to make sure everything functions properly to minimize the risk of avoidable accidents.
However, this also means making sure they’re wearing the appropriate protective clothing. This includes:
- Motorcycle helmet
- Long pants
- Protective eyewear
You can also go the extra mile here and opt for body- armor-styled clothing, hearing protection, knee and elbow pads, and more.
2. Motorcycles – Drive Defensively
Motorcycle Safety Month reminds motorcycle riders that no matter how much experience they have on two wheels, they’ll never be able to control other drivers. They need to drive defensively and stay vigilant about other cars on the road. Motorcyclists should always be ready to react.
Although responsible drivers will check their blind spot and exercise caution when turning, changing lanes, etc., motorcyclists need to understand that they can be difficult to see. They should never assume a driver knows they’re there.
3. Motorcycles – Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks
One of the most important motorcycle safety tips is about knowing how to exercise caution. Motorcycles are fast, agile, and snappy. However, this doesn’t mean motorcyclists should drive aggressively, radically, or dangerously.
Avoid taking unnecessary risks such as weaving in and out of traffic, driving between cars, speeding, accelerating aggressively, etc. Not only will those actions be dangerous, but some of them may even be illegal.
Additionally, be prepared to change your plans based on the conditions. You should avoid riding a motorcycle with poor road conditions due to weather, construction, road damages, etc.
4. Cars and Trucks – Leave Plenty of Space Between You and Motorcycles
Passenger vehicle operators also have a responsibility to keep motorcyclists safe on the road. For example, they should allow plenty of distance between themselves and motorcycles. Remember, a motorcycle can stop much faster than a full-sized car or truck.
Avoid tailgating to allow yourself plenty of time and space to stop, slow down, or otherwise react to motorcycles in front of you. Ramming into the back of another passenger vehicle could result in minimal damages. However, ramming into the back of a motorcyclist could prove to be a fatal accident.
5. Cars and Trucks – Double-Check Your Blind Spots
As noted above, motorcycles can be difficult to see on the road, especially during inclement weather conditions or during low-light hours that reduce visibility. Passenger vehicle drivers must not get lazy when it comes to checking their mirrors or their blind spots when turning, conducting lane changes, stopping, and more.
6. All Vehicles – Respect the Rules of the Road
No matter what vehicle you drive, you’re legally obligated to respect and follow traffic laws. Driving a car or motorcycle is a privilege that can be taken away if you don’t adhere to the rules of the road.
Don’t drive recklessness, speed, blow through stop signs or stop lights, or operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Avoid driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance that can affect your cognitive ability.
7. All Vehicles – Practice Awareness and Respect for Other Drivers
Finally, Motorcycle Safety Month helps remind us that we aren’t the only ones out there on the road. We should all work to improve our awareness while operating a motor vehicle, be it on two wheels or four. Don’t allow yourself to drive while distracted or get complacent.
Additionally, remember to treat other drivers the way you expect to be treated. Yes, the golden rule of behavior also applies to how you share the road with others. For example, you don’t appreciate being cut off of tailgated, so don’t do it to other drivers.
Need a Defensive Driver Course?
Motorcycle Safety Month is a good time of year for all of us to take a step back and examine our driving habits.
Do you brake and accelerate aggressively? Do you have road rage that causes you to drive recklessly? Perhaps, you’re simply not as aware as you should be to other drivers on the road.
Regardless, you may need to look into our defensive driver courses. They can be helpful in saving you on auto insurance while refreshing your education. However, our courses may also help if you’ve been given a traffic ticket or have been court-ordered to take a defensive driving course.
Either way, we look forward to hearing from you. And if you want to know more about what you’re getting into, check out this free demo!