The desire for more efficient, environmentally-friendly transportation, combined with the siren call of the open road means that we are seeing more motorcycles and bicycles on the road than ever. On average, there are more than 40 million bicyclists on the road in the United States, and even more motorcycles, making up 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States according to the National Traffic Safety Administration.
While motorcyclists and bicyclists value their ability to maneuver in and out of lanes with greater ease than cars, their size also makes them harder to see and more vulnerable to accidents. When you are driving a car and sharing the road with someone on 2 wheels, there are a few extra steps you need to take for everyone’s safety. Remember these tips when sharing the road with a motorcyclist or bicyclist and you’re both more likely to reach your destination without incident:
- Take extra care at intersections: The majority of accidents between cars and people on bicycles and motorcycles happen at intersections. If you see a cyclist at an intersection, attempt to make eye contact with the rider before you turn in front or near them, potentially cutting them off. The same goes for U-turns, another cause of frequent car-bicycle crashes, according to this Los Angeles Times article.
- Give them space: Allow motorcycles and bicycles on the road a full lane width as you travel, and give them a respectful following distance of at least 3 to 4 seconds when following behind. Although it may seem that there is enough room in the lane for you both to share, allowing you to pass them inside the lane, remember to treat 2-wheeled vehicles the same as 4-wheeled ones, giving them to room to maneuver safely. Bottom line? Don’t “tailgate” or try to buddy up and share lanes.
- Road and weather conditions have a bigger impact on cyclists: What might be a minor annoyance to a car, such as a small pothole or wet surface, can pose a major hazard to people riding motorcycles or bicycles. Be aware that even though you may continue to drive through conditions like this without pause, riders on 2 wheels may slow their speed, or adjust positions within the lanes quickly in order to avoid accident. Again, keeping a safe distance and not sharing lanes will greatly reduce the chances of a possible accident.
- Check your blind spot before changing lanes: Because of its small size, a motorcycle or bicycle can easily be missed, hiding within your car’s blind spot. Even if you think there is no one on the road with you, it’s a good practice to always check your mirrors and blind spots by turning your head before changing lanes or making turns.
Would you like to know more about bicycle laws in Southern California? Click here to learn more about LA’s bicycle laws and pedestrian safety tips. And if you are ever in an accident where bicycles or motorcycles are involved, be sure to look to us to support you through the next steps. Our attorneys aren’t just experts in motorcycle accidents – they ride too. Be sure to check out this article and our YouTube channel for videos of great bikes, interviews with motorcycle legends. By remaining alert and understanding the challenges faced by motorcycles and bicycles, we can avoid needless accidents and safely share the road.