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Safety tips for vehicles when sharing highway with motorcycles

Heather Grabin/News Director

   The Christian Motorcyclists Association’s (CMA) “Changing of the Colors” Rally will be in full swing beginning Wednesday and many visitors will travel to the area, some will be familiar with the terrain and some will not.

  No matter the situation, everyone’s safety is always of the utmost importance.

   The following are some tips for vehicles when sharing the road with motorcycles.

   -BE EXTRA OBSERVANT.

  Motorcycles sometimes become hidden in a vehicle’s blind spots simply because it is smaller than anything else on the road. Because of it’s size, a motorcycle may be hidden or blend in with the surroundings making it hard for a driver to see.

   Size also effects how close or far away a motorcycle appears which makes it hard to judge a motorcycle’s speed.

   When you see a motorcycle always react as if it is closer than it appears.

-USE DEFENSIVE DRIVING SKILLS.

   A motorcycle may not always use their brakes to slow down. Sometimes they downshift or let off of the throttle and there is no visible warning that they are changing speed.

   Stay a safe distance behind the bike and try to predict what the rider will do at intersections.

   As with any vehicle, be sure about turn signals. Don’t just assume because a blinker is flashing that the motorcycle is making the turn. The blinker may have remained on after a turn and the rider is simply not aware.

-UNDERSTAND HOW A RIDER HANDLES THEIR

MOTORCYCLE.

   Because a motorcycle is smaller it is easier to maneuver. There are many factors that cause riders to change their positions in a lane.

   A key reason is to help other vehicles to see them, but they also change positions in a lane depending upon the road surface, weather factors such as rain, wind or standing puddles of water and to avoid debris on the road that could harm them or their bike.

   When a bike is moving within a lane it is generally not to show off or to ride beside a vehicle, it is for everyone’s safety.

-BE A GOOD DRIVER.

   Don’t confuse the drivers around you with your actions. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination when traveling so you are not in a rush.

   Don’t make quick movements and expect the motorcyclist to be able to move around you.

   Even though a motorcycle can travel in ways different than a bigger vehicle they should never be expected to outmaneuver you in order to prevent an accident.

-RESPECT THE RIDER. See the motorcycle and see a person. It is not simply a piece of metal driving on the highway with you. The rider is someone’s loved one, and larger vehicles should always give extra thought to the motorcyclist. Generally when a vehicle and a motorcycle crash the people in the vehicle will only suffer minor injuries, but the odds are against the motorcyclist. A hasty mistake or miscalculation can take the life of the motorcycle driver, rider, and/or the people traveling in the vehicle.

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