Each year in Maryland, more than 70 motorcycle riders and passengers are killed in traffic crashes and nearly 1,200 are injured. Motorcycle crashes account for approximately 12% of crashes on Maryland roads. Most often, drivers say they didn’t see the motorcycle in time, if they saw them at all. Certainly, driving defensively is the responsibility of the motorcyclist, as it is for all drivers. Motorcyclists must wear the proper gear, follow safety laws, and choose safe lane positions. Keeping vulnerable motorcyclists safe is also a responsibility of all other drivers on the road. In this post we detail some of the ways to Be The Look Twice Driver.
Share the Road and Save a Life
Motorcyclists have as much right to be on the roads as all other drivers. Remember to look twice for motorcyclists so that everyone can get to their destinations safely and efficiently.
Check Your Blind Spots
Being so much smaller than other vehicles on the road, it’s easy for motorcycles to slip in and out of a driver’s blind spot. Ideally, they choose the lane position that keeps them most visible, but drivers should always double check before changing lanes.
Motorcycles May Be Closer Than They Appear
A motorcycle’s smaller size can make their distance more difficult to gauge in vehicle mirrors. Give them extra space, always assuming they’re closer than they seem.
Always Use Your Turn Signal
Motorcycles often change their position in a lane to stay visible, but also to keep a safe distance from vehicles and other hazards. Drivers should indicate their intentions, using turn signals to help motorcyclists anticipate where their vehicles are moving.
Pass with Extra Caution
Much like pedestrians and bicyclists, motorcyclists are vulnerable road users. Drivers should use the same caution when passing motorcycles that they would use for pedestrians and bicyclists. Motorcyclists lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle and sudden gusts of wind from passing vehicles can also disrupt their balance, so drivers should provide as much distance as possible when passing.
Never Enter a Motorcycle’s Lane
Although motorcycles don’t take up the full width of a lane, they’re entitled to that entire space. Drivers should never enter a motorcyclist’s lane to pass or for any other reason.
Increase Your Following Distance
Motorcycles are more responsive than other types of vehicles, accelerating and stopping much more quickly. Rear-ending a motorcycle is likely to be fatal, so drivers should always increase their following distance, especially at night.
Watch for Motorcycles at Intersections
Drivers who see an oncoming motorcycle at an intersection should take extra care, especially when turning. It’s not always easy to gauge the distance or speed of motorcycles accurately. When in doubt, wait. Do not take a chance and cut them off. It’s not worth risking a deadly crash.
Make Sure Motorcyclists Get Home Safely
Like all fellow roadway users, motorcyclists have friends and family who need them to make it home safely. Share the road, be courteous, and understand they are also doing their best to stay safe. Respect their right-of-way — and their right to have a safe ride on Maryland roads.