During the entire month of May, motorcyclists around our area are promoting National Motorcycle Awareness Month. I would like to use this time to educate everyone who uses the many wondrous and scenic roads in Berks County.
I am a member of Leather and Lace MC, a women’s motorcycle club established in 1983. One of our top priorities is to support motorcycle safety in our community. Below are some simple, easy awareness tips that I would like to share: Motorcycle Awareness.
Over two-thirds of car-motorcycle crashes are caused by car drivers, not by motorcyclists. The driver either does not see the oncoming motorcyclist at all or does not see the motorcyclist in time to avoid a crash.
Tips for drivers:
• Why didn't I see that motorcycle? Drivers tend to look for other cars, not motorcycles. Because of its smaller profile, a motorcycle is harder to see and you may find it more difficult to estimate the motorcycle's speed.
• The motorcyclist's riding pattern is different from your driving pattern. Different actions may be needed for the same driving or highway situation. For example, you may ignore a piece of road debris as a driver; however, that same piece of road debris may be deadly for a motorcyclist. Traffic, weather and road conditions require a motorcyclist to react differently than a driver, thus it is more difficult for you to judge and to predict cues that may require the motorcyclist to take an evasive action.
What are some situations when crashes are most likely to occur?
• Car making a left turn: You are attempting a left turn in front of a motorcycle operator.
• Riding in your blind spot: A motorcyclist is riding in your blind spot and you may not see the motorcycle. Additionally, you may fail to adequately check blind spots before changing lanes or making turns.
• Obstructed line of sight: Large vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles, delivery vans and large trucks may block a motorcycle from your view and the motorcyclist may seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere.
How can I become more aware of motorcyclists? Respect the motorcyclist: Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the privileges of any vehicle on the roadway. Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
• Look for the motorcyclist at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and on the highway, when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.
• Anticipate a motorcyclist's maneuver: Obstructions that you do not notice may be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive actions.
• Allow plenty of space: Don't follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
Nearly 2,000 motorcyclists die each year as a result of an accident. Another 50,000 are injured in collisions and other mishaps. All of us at Leather and Lace MC want to see these numbers dwindle to non-existence. Hopefully, this will provide an added education for everyone who shares the road with motorcyclists.
And ... hang up the phone! I want to get home!