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Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

May 1, 2017

It seems like every spring, people need a dire reminder of how to share the road with motorcycles.  After the cold, long winter, with little to no motorcycle traffic on our roadways, we tend to get complacent and forget about motorcyclists.  Accidents involving motorcycles have a very different ending than just automobile accidents; so listen up!

The following motorcycle safety tips are geared more to those of you with more than 2-wheels; it is not only the motorcyclists responsibility to be conscious of safety but also the drivers around him/her as these are the elements they can’t control.

Those of us who have never ridden a bike before can be confused by the behaviour of riders.  Lets look at some of the main behaviours that you need to be aware of and accommodate for.

Look, look, and look again.  This is the most important tip, so we will get it out of the way first.  You may think - ya, ya, ya I shoulder check all the time. The matter of the fact is look again; bikes can be hard to spot on a quick glance.  The vast majority of all car vs. bike accidents happen in intersections when a car turns right, in front of a biker.  You can imagine how this turns out for the motorcycle rider.  So - look once to make sure traffic is clear, and look again specifically for any bikes.  Vehicles turning in front of motorcycles is the number one cause of fatal accidents for motorcycle riders.  Look twice and save a life.

Let them swerve.  You may notice that motorcycle riders often weave within their lane from side to side; there is good reason for this.  For people in cars and trucks a pothole may mean a bumpy ride and at the worst a flat tire or messed up alignment.  For a biker, missing a pothole can mean the difference between life and death.  Other hazards they may be weaving to avoid are oil spots, road kill, and other types of road debris.  Another reason for moving from side to side in their lanes is to stay out of drivers blind spots. 

Leave them space. Tailgating cars is bad enough, tailgating motorcycles is even more dangerous.  In the event of a sudden stop, motorcycles are even more vulnerable because of their size and lack of protection in the event of a collision.  Another reason motorcycles stay to one side of their lane is an escape route incase they see a vehicle approaching behind them that won’t stop in time.  

Make a conscious effort.  Remind yourself every day that bikers are out there and you need to look out for them; form the habit.   Just as we remind ourselves to watch for kids in neighbourhoods we should remind ourselves to be on the lookout for bikers.  Share the road; bikers only have the ability to do so much to protect themselves, they rely on drivers around them for the other part.  Help them out by specifically looking for riders during your daily commute, the end result will you being a better driver all around.   

Keep our riders safe; they are our friends, neighbours, family, and co-workers.  Follow these tips and share the road to ensure we all have a safe riding season!

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