Tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists

Motorcyclists may have a greater risk while on the road, so all drivers need to look closely, watch for next move and give proper space.

It is not uncommon to see a motorcycle out on the California roads. Bikers, like other motor vehicle operators, enjoy the nice weather and scenic roads of the state. However, motorcyclists are at an increased risk of getting injured or killed in a traffic accident than passengers and drivers in other vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bike accidents resulted in 26 times more deaths per vehicle mile traveled than crashes involving passenger cars. By learning to how better share the road, drivers in all vehicles may be able to make the highways a safer place for bike riders.

Look closely

A motorcycle is a small vehicle that can easily blend into the landscape around the road. Before drivers pull out on to a highway or change lanes while driving, it is important they take a close look to ensure there are no motorcycles in their path. Checking mirrors and blind spots at intersections is a great precaution to take to make sure there are no oncoming bikers. While everyone should try to remain aware of their surroundings the entire time they are on the road, it is especially important to look closely when changing lanes, merging with traffic or making turns.

Watch for next move

Knowing where fellow drivers are going is an important part of staying safe on the road. Looking at turn signals can help operators determine where another vehicle is planning on going next. When it comes to motorcyclists, however, drivers may want to wait a moment before assuming a blinker is accurately depicting the biker's next move. Many motorbikes have non-canceling signals, which means the driver has to manually turn the signal off. If he or she forgets this step, the blinker may remain on even when the biker is not planning on turning or switching lanes.

Give proper space

Because motorcycles are so much smaller than the other vehicles on the road, drivers may be tempted to share lanes. However, bikers have complete use of a lane, which means car operators should not borrow a biker's lane in order to pass him or her. Sharing a lane could reduce the rider's reaction space if a pothole or another road obstruction comes up.

Not only should vehicle operators allow motorcyclists to have the entire width of the lane to themselves, but they should also avoid following too closely to a biker. Motorcycles may be able to stop faster than a car, so passenger vehicle drivers need to leave a greater following distance between themselves and bikers to reduce the chances of rear ending the motorcycle.

Car crashes involving motorcyclists can take place on California roads. No matter who is involved in an accident, it may be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney.