When it comes to motorcycle safety, drivers have a responsibility to take the utmost care when sharing the road with bikes, and to take their own proactive measures to ensure the safety of riders.
Motorcycle awareness is always a major concern regarding other road users, as not spotting a motorcyclist in time can have devastating consequences. We’ve put together some essential tips to help keep yourself and riders safe, by sharing the road effectively…
Focus On Your Field Of Vision And Blind Spots
Unfortunately, the human’s eye isn’t as reliable when it comes to spotting objects that move faster than the brain can effectively perceive – mainly because the eye is only looking at a very small area at any given time.
Motorcycles can be small enough, and quick enough to fall outside our field of vision, and avoid our immediate detection. This happens even if they’re right in front of us, as a bike approaching head-on from a distance occupies a very small part of your vision. The bike may be moving at such a speed that the eye won’t catch up in time to properly register its presence before it’s already in close proximity. The shape of a rider and motorcycle is also more likely to blend into the images you’re glancing at as you drive.
It sounds simple, but it’s extremely important to make an effort to look around – keep checking your mirrors, and always keep an eye on the side of the road. Devote time to your car’s blind spots before making any maneuvers.
The more you make a conscious effort to look around while driving, the better your overall mental picture of your surroundings will be.
Remember Reactions And Be Cautious
It’s always best to remember that a motorcyclist can often react far quicker than a person driving a car. If you’re following behind a motorcycle, make sure to maintain an adequate distance behind, to avoid rear-ending them if they suddenly brake or turn quickly.
When attempting to pass a slower motorcyclist, on a section of road that allows this, signal your intentions in good time. Going past a rider, who’s unaware of your presence, at increased speeds could cause them to become unstable and fall off the road. Leave several car lengths before returning to your lane after passing.
If you aware that there’s a motorcycle following closely behind you, then always signal your intention to turn a lot sooner than you normally would.
Motorcycle riders are more at risk than other drivers when it comes to adverse weather conditions on the roads. If it’s a particularly, wet, windy and even icey day it can make travelling on a motorcycle extremely difficult, and bikers can often lose control of their vehicles if the weather is against them.
This type of weather can also reduce your visibility, making motorcyclists difficult to spot, also your own reaction time may be slowed due to the conditions of the roads on harsh winter days – so take extra precaution while you drive.
When the sun goes down it can make the roads just as treacherous for motorcyclists – make sure to follow behind at an increased distance, avoid attempts to pass, and turn off your high-beams when approaching. This will all help to ensure rider stay safe in poor weather or after dark.
The Dutch Reach is a simple manoeuvre that’s easy to adopt and could be potentially life saving for motorcyclist.
In practice it involves using your far hand to open your car door when parked, as opposed to the hand that’s next to the door. By utilising this manoeuvre your body will automatically swivel as you reach across for the door, forcing the position of your head and shoulders to change so that you are looking out.
In one fluid motion you can check the rearview mirror and then easily look behind you to check for any upcoming bikes or other vehicles before you open the door, to prevent any accidents.
The safety of motorbike users is always of paramount importance – and you can join us on the 11th February in support of Motorcycle Awareness Day – being held at Ace Cafe London.