Wells, Purcell & Kraatz

Tips to Safely Share the Road with Motorcyclists

Here are a few tips to safely share the road with motorcyclists:

•  Check to see if there are motorcycles in your blind spot when changing lanes, making a turn, or entering a freeway or expressway.

• Allow at least a four-second following distance. If the motorcyclist suddenly stops or falls off, you will need enough distance to stop your car and avoid hitting him/her.

• Do not share the lane with a motorcyclist. A motorcyclist needs enough room to maneuver; having a shared lane can be unsafe, especially if a traffic situation arises.

• If you happen to be in a situation where you are sharing a lane with a motorcyclist, do not try to pass him/her. Slow down and move to a lane away from the motorcyclist.

• During the heavy freeway traffic, motorcyclists tend to ride between two lanes to pass the congested traffic. This practice of a motorcyclist riding between two lanes is called lane splitting. Although lane splitting is legal in California, it can be unsafe. Be very careful and watch out for the motorcyclists passing you between the lanes during the freeway’s congested traffic.

• When making a left turn in an intersection, watch out for a looming motorcycle and do not assume that you can turn left in front of the motorcyclist in a timely manner without having a collision with him/her. It is usually hard to gauge a motorcycle’s speed; be patient and play it safe.

• Bad weather or road conditions can create a dangerous environment for motorcycles, especially when sharing the road with other vehicles. For example, wet or slippery surfaces, uneven surfaces (potholes, gravel, pavement seams) can make it necessary for motorcyclists to change speed or direction suddenly. A motorcyclist can fall off when there is a powerful wind. Thus, when there are bad weather or road conditions or when there is a heavy traffic, be aware of those risks, watch out for motorcyclists, and be courteous and extra cautious, especially when you are sharing the roads with motorcyclists.

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