Every year motorcycle safety month – typically in May – is a reminder to all motor vehicle drivers to be on the lookout for motorcycle riders. This time of year the pleasant, warm spring weather brings many bikers out onto Virginia roads and highways to enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of traveling on two wheels. Motorcycles are also a sound economic choice for some riders, as they use much less gas and require less maintenance than a traditional car or truck.
However, the trade-off is safety. Because motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks they are more difficult for motorists to spot. Especially dangerous are those drivers who don’t know anything about motorcycles – they don’t understand how important it is to give bikers room to maneuver safely. Motorcycle riders are also at risk for more serious injuries than car drivers if they’re involved in an accident, because motorcycles lack all the protection enjoyed by car drivers.
Because of this, in many ways motorcycle riders are at the mercy of car and truck drivers. While motorcyclists can do their part to stay safe on the road, other drivers also need to educate themselves about sharing the road with bikers. Motorcycle advocacy groups believe that a little education goes a long way in encouraging drivers to practice safe and considerate when driving around bikers.
Consider a few key points about motorcycles:
- Car and truck drivers should never crowd a motorcyclist. Just because they are small does not mean they need less room. Motorcycles still need ample space to stop and turn, and under no circumstances should you ever try to share a lane with a motorcycle rider.
- It is easy for a motorcyclist to be hidden in your vehicle’s blind spot. Sometimes a quick glance in the mirror isn’t enough to determine if it is safe to make a lane change; you should always be aware of the vehicles around you and make good use of your windows and mirrors well in advance of planning a lane change or a turn.
- Be alert for poor road conditions. Something that would be no issue for a car can be deadly for a motorcycle rider. While you might drive straight over gravel, wet surfaces, pavement seams, rail crossings, grooved pavement or potholes, these are things that a motorcycle rider will want to avoid. Make sure you give them plenty of room to get around or through these road hazards.
- Motorcycle turn signals are not self-canceling, so don’t assume that just because you see a turn signal that the rider is planning an imminent turn. Wait and make sure the rider really is going to turn before you proceed.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you don’t need to suffer alone. Skilled, experienced attorneys like those the Northern Virginia law firm Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas can review your case for no cost or obligation to see how they can help you.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012