As the weather gets warmer, you have probably encountered more motorcyclists on your daily commute. Unfortunately, an increase in motorcycling activity can also mean an increase in motorcycle crashes.
As a motorist, it is important to protect yourself and the motorcyclists you share the road with.
Maintain safe speeds
Excessive speed can lead to a deadly crash. Wisconsin law requires motorists to drive at a “reasonable and prudent” speed for the present conditions. Driving too fast for conditions, even within the posted limits, could result in a fine and leave you vulnerable to a personal injury lawsuit if you hit a motorcyclist.
Use your turn signals
Predictable drivers are generally safer drivers. Always use the correct signals to communicate your next move. Drive smoothly and predictably whenever possible. 76% of all motorcycle collisions are front-forward collisions, meaning someone stopped suddenly in front of a motorcycle or cut them off.
Check your blind spots
Motorcycles are smaller and harder to spot than cars and trucks, so you must pay close attention to your surroundings when sharing the road with them. Ensure your vehicle’s side mirrors are properly positioned to minimize blind spots. There’s a reason the saying “Start seeing motorcycles” is so prevalent. Car drivers need to get into the mindset of watching for smaller vehicles and being aware of specific blind spots when driving.
Pass with care
Use caution when passing a motorcycle. When you pass, your vehicle creates a gust of wind that can knock a motorcyclist off-balance, and your tires can kick up road debris that can cause injuries. Avoid these safety hazards by giving the motorcyclist plenty of room and waiting until the motorcycle is fully visible in your rearview mirror before returning to the right lane.
Maintain a safe following distance
When driving behind a motorcycle, avoid following too closely. Rear-end collisions, while often minor for cars and trucks, can be fatal to motorcyclists because they can easily throw the operator from the motorcycle.
With more bikers on the road, motorists must be attentive and take precautions to avoid a potentially deadly motorcycle crash.