May is Motorcycle Safety Month

If you live in WA like I do and go out at all this weekend you couldn’t help but notice all the motorcycles out on the roads. It was a beautiful weekend for it and they came out in masses to take over the roads and highways.

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Unless proper safety is observed, this might be a recipe for disaster. That’s why May, the month were some many motorcyclists, fire up their motorcycle engine for the first time after a long winter, is Motorcycle Safety Month.

Here are a few safety tips both for drivers on the road with motorcyclists as well as for motorcyclists themselves.

Safety tips for those sharing the road with motorcycles:

  • Be aware that motorcyclists are out there sharing the road. Look for them. They are obviously much harder to see then cars.
  • When motorcyclists downshift or ease off the throttle the motorcycle will slow down without the break lights going on so make sure you give them plenty of room.
  • Motorcycle turn signals may or may not turn off automatically when the turn or lane change has taken place. Don’t assume that a motorcycle is actually turning, just because that’s what the blinker indicates.
  • Being smaller means that motorcycles are easier to miss in your vehicles’ blindspot. Make sure you check thoroughly before you change lanes.
  • It is difficult to judge how rapidly a motorcycle is approaching, much harder than a car or truck.
  • While the rules of the road say that the driving distance between your  car and the motorcycle is the same as the one between two cars, it is safer to allow a greater distance. What might be a simple fender-bender between two cars can become a fatality when a motorcycle is involved.

Safety Tips for motorcyclists:

  • Understand that you are much more difficult to spot than a car is. Maximize your visibility with hi-viz clothing, reflective stripes and by leaving your headlights on at all times.
  • Know your bike. Practice driving in all times of weather and all kinds of road conditions. Knowing what you can or can’t do based on conditions around you can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Especially when on the highway, drive as if you were a car. Do not weave in and out of traffic, ride the shoulder or zip between cars. Doing so puts you at risk.
  • Wear a helmet and proper protective gear at all times.

Learn more about motorcycle safety from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website. Of special interest is the library that they have available with several good documents, curriculum, reports, papers and a whole lot more.

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