Last week, motorcyclist Wally Melendez of Destin sent a letter to the Destin Log asking local drivers to help prevent motorcycle accidents. As Melendez mentioned, the 2010 Florida State HOG Rally in Destin and Ft. Walton Beach is coming up next week, as are other cycling events such as Biketoberfest. All of that makes this an opportune time for a reminder to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”
“I ride my Harley Davidson in this town. I ride with a fear of drivers who ride their brakes, turn suddenly in front of me, stop without reason, and tailgate me on my bike,” Melendez says.
10 Motorcycle Safety Tips for Other Drivers
As Melendez points out, motorcyclists are not as well protected as drivers of other vehicles, and a motorcycle accident can cause serious injuries or even death to either party, but often with catastrophic consequences for the biker.
Here are ten safety tips for drivers to help you start seeing bikers and prevent motorcycle accidents, courtesy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:
1) Out on the road, don’t think of a motorcycle as a vehicle — think of it as a person.
2) Actively look for motorcycles, especially when checking for traffic at an intersection. Look left, look right, then look left again.
3) The stopping distance for motorcyclists is actually about the same as for cars, but slippery pavement can make it harder for a biker to stop. Don’t assume a motorcycle can stop on a dime.
Beware of false visual cues caused by a motorcycle’s size:
4) A motorcycle’s small size can make it seem farther away than it is. When you stop or turn in front of a motorcycle, predict that it is closer than it appears.
5) A motorcycle’s small size can also make it seem to be going faster than it is.
6) Motorcycles are easily hidden in a car or truck’s blind spots or masked by other objects on the road — even backgrounds like bushes, fences and bridges. Before stopping or turning, take an extra moment to check thoroughly.
7) Understand that motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane in order to be seen more easily or to avoid debris. They are not driving recklessly or inviting you to share their lane.
8) Motorcycles often slow down without braking — so their brake lights don’t always activate when they’re slowing down.
9) Motorcycles’ turn lights are not self-canceling, so some riders forget to turn them off. Take a moment to make sure a motorcycle is really turning before you rely on it.
10) Although motorcycles are quite maneuverable, don’t assume every biker can avoid a motorcycle accident by just dodging out of your way.
- The Destin Log, “LETTER: A Destin Harley rider’s cry for attention,” Wally Melendez, October 6, 2010
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “QUICK TIPS: Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles”