Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in car accidents than passenger vehicle occupants, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Vulnerabilities to serious personal injuries in auto accidents put motorcyclists at great risk every time they travel. In Alabama alone, 114 motorcyclists and moped riders lost their lives in 2016. Although riding a motorcycle can be more dangerous than driving a car, there are ways to prevent accidents and fatal injuries.
Watch for Motorcyclists
Many motorcycle accidents happen because drivers fail to notice oncoming motorcyclists. Motorcycles are smaller and can easily blend with the elements, causing a driver not to see the motorcycle upon first look. Checking twice for motorcycles before pulling out or making your turn could prevent a collision and save a life. Always look both ways, then look left again, before pulling out of a driveway or making a turn at an intersection.
Do Not Drive Distracted
Always pay attention to the road while driving. Do not let something like a cell phone or radio distract you from watching for motorcycles. Left-hand turn motorcycle accidents are especially common, with a motor vehicle driver turning left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. Not seeing the motorcycle or misjudging its speed or distance can cause these accidents. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel to improve the safety of others.
Check Your Blind Spots
Motorcycles can hide in blind spots, increasing the risk of merge and sideswipe accidents. The small size of motorcycles makes them more prone to disappearing into a driver’s blind spots. Before you change lanes or merge onto a highway, double check your mirrors and look over both shoulders for motorcycles in your destination lane. Checking your blind spots carefully could help you avoid a collision.
Increase Your Following Distance
Increase your following distance if you are behind a motorcyclist in Alabama. A rear-end collision may be a minor accident when it involves two passenger vehicles, but rear-ending a motorcycle could be fatal for the rider. If passing and overtaking a motorcycle, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the rider. Do not get in front of the motorcyclist until there is enough room, and do not pass and brake abruptly. A motorcyclist colliding with the back of your vehicle could result in serious injuries.
Share the Road
Some motorcycle accidents arise out of frustration or road rage. Some drivers do not feel comfortable sharing the road with motorcyclists. Sometimes, motorcyclists engage in unlawful practices such as speeding or lane splitting. Whatever the case, stay calm and try not to let a motorcyclist’s actions result in an angry reaction. Patiently share the road with motorcyclists, giving them enough room and making eye contact with riders at intersections. Do not tailgate or cut off a motorcyclist.
Clear Roadway Debris and Other Hazards
If you own a private road or land near a public road, or if you are a construction worker or someone in charge of roadway maintenance, take special care in keeping the roads safe for motorcyclists. Motorcycles cannot maneuver as easily over obstacles as passenger vehicles. Loose gravel is especially dangerous for motorcycles, and can cause the rider to lose control and crash. Sweep loose gravel out of the roadway. Clear away broken branches and other debris. If you notice a dangerous pothole on your property, repair it for riders’ safety.
Spread the Word
Motorcycle safety is every road user’s responsibility. While motorcyclists can do things to decrease their odds of crashing, other drivers should also pay attention to motorcyclist safety. Drive slowly and prudently around motorcycles, setting a good example for your children or other passengers in the car. Commit to safe driving, making a pledge never to text and drive or drive drunk. Educating others on how to save a motorcyclist’s life could make a difference in your community.