Sharing the Road: Safety Tips for Drivers and Motorcyclists

With spring here and warmer weather right around the corner, Pennsylvania motorists will see an increase in motorcyclists sharing the highways and roadways. In 2015 there were 860,600 licensed motorcyclists in Pennsylvania. While there are those that believe operating a motorcycle is dangerous, statistics show that in the majority of accidents involving a motorcycle, the cause of the accident is the fault of the other vehicle. In 2015 there were 3,413 motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania, with 176 of those proving to be fatal.

Here are a few safety tips for motorists sharing the road with motorcyclists:

  • Look for motorcyclists carefully — motorcycles may be difficult to see, so you should always check your blindspots and mirrors before turning or changing lanes. Also be aware that large vehicles can block a motorcyclist from your view.
  • Leave distance between you and the motorcyclist — When behind a motorcycle on the road, leave at least four seconds between you and it.
  • Always use your turn signal lights when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Remember that a motorcyclist has the same rights and privileges as any other driver on the road. Respect him or her as such, and give the motorcyclist a full lane width.

Here are a few tips for motorcyclists to improve their safety on the road:

  • Wear a U.S. DOT-approved helmet, face or eye protection and protective clothing.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
  • Be seen. Wear reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective riding gear and motorcycle.
  • Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to dangerous situations.
  • Practice safe-riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions. Road conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces are usually only small annoyances to motorists, but are serious dangers for motorcyclists.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

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