Sharing the Road with Bikers: 4 Things You Need to Know
In 2014, there were over 445,000 registered motorcycles in Texas. Motorcycles are a big part of Texas and can be found along the various roads and highways throughout the state. While it’s important for bikers to be alert and drive responsibly, it’s just as important that drivers of passenger cars (4-wheel vehicles) know how to safely share the road with motorcyclists.
Here are 4 things drivers should consider when sharing the road with motorcycles.
Understand Their Vulnerability
Unlike passenger cars, motorcycles leave the riders incredibly vulnerable to harm. Because motorcycles don’t have doors or airbags, the riders are in much more danger if they’re involved in an accident. They risk being thrown off the bike. In 2013, motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a passenger car.
Motorcyclists Must Drive Differently
It is common to see people on motorcycles weaving side-to-side within their lane; most of the time they aren’t showing off, but rather avoiding obstacles in the road. If a biker were to hit a pothole, he could potentially be thrown from the bike. If you see a motorcyclist weaving back and forth, it is most likely the biker is trying to avoid potential hazards in the road.
Another common safety practice for bikers is to drive towards the outer edges of lanes in order to stay out of a driver’s blind spots. The best way they can alert other drivers that they’re behind them is to align themselves properly in order to appear in the driver’s side mirrors.
Know How to Safely Drive Near Bikers
The safest way for drivers to share the road with bikers is to give bikers enough space. The distance required to stop on a motorcycle is much shorter than for a passenger car; if you tailgate a biker, you won’t have enough time to stop and avoid hitting them. Create an extra safety buffer when driving behind motorcycles, providing yourself with more time and distance to stop.
If you want to pass a motorcycle, make sure you’re a good distance behind the biker and signal your intentions to change lanes. Don’t speed up when passing the biker because the blast of wind could knock the biker off-balance.
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is when a car turns left in front of a motorcycle. Before you turn left, triple check that the intersection is clear; don’t just rely on hearing an approaching motorcycle.
Motorcycles are a reality of the road. As a driver, it’s your responsibility to be alert when behind the wheel, and to be aware of your surroundings.
If the weather is nice, it’s more likely that bikers will be out on the road. Much like looking left before you turn right on red, watching for motorcycles can become an easy habit to remember.
If you’ve been hit by a car while riding a motorcycle or if a reckless driver has crashed into your car, contact the Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation. We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel in East Texas.