The Motorcycle Safety Foundation – Cars, Motorcycles and A Common Road

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Motorcycle Safety Foundation

There are many types of vehicles in use today, and they all have to share the same roads. A major problem with sharing the road is seeing the situation in purely human terms. A driver gets in his car and the car and driver become a single in personal machine. A rider puts on a helmet and protective equipment, and like the car driver, some of his human characteristics, like his hairstyle or a great smile begin to fade from view. So it’s quite possible that the driver will treat the rider on his motorcycle a way that he’d never treat him face to face, and the way the car driver treats the motorcycle rider is important because in a collision a rider is more vulnerable than a driver. Car drivers have a steel cage all around them, by contrast the motorcycle rider has only his riding skill and basic protective equipment to rely on, but these very different vehicles share the same road.

The most common accident between drivers and motorcyclists involves a car turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Even good drivers sometimes don’t notice motorcycles or misjudge the riders intentions. Motorcycles are much shorter and narrower than a car, so they present a narrower profile. If a driver is subconsciously expecting a motorcycle to be as long and wide as a car, He may think its farther away or going more slowly than it really is. The solution to this is to take the time and effort to look not just once, but twice, and , three times to make sure just how far away the rider is and just how fast he’s approaching. Intersections are the most likely places for a collision for two reasons:

First, the driver might not detect the motorcyclist, and second, if he does see the motorcyclist, the car driver may make a wrong interpretation of what the motorcyclist is doing. It’s important to for both riders and drivers to communicate their intentions, use your turn signals, and cancel them after a lane change. Why do car drivers sometimes tailgate a motorcyclist? Because a driver can see past a motorcyclist easily, he may not consider the bike much of a threat, or realise how close he actually is to it. The car driver might even be concentrating on a vehicle in front of the motorcycle. When following a motorcycle, allow at least a two second following distance. You work it out like this, choose a marker that the motorcycle your following is passing. For example, as the motorcycle hits the shadow of this bridge, count one thousand one, one thousand two, before you pass the shadow. That’s your two seconds. Always look before pulling out, it’s especially important to check the rear view and side view mirrors when backing up and to look over your shoulder too. Now that you understand motorcyclists a little better, share the road with them, treat them like theĀ  next door.

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