For Your Safety: Keeping Motorcyclists Safe

EnCompass Magazine

For some travelers, the appeal of the open road is stronger when riding on two wheels. There’s nothing like the freedom of riding a motorcycle to immerse you in your surroundings. That open-air experience comes with a price, however. Riders must be hyper-attentive to safety and to other vehicles on the road, and other motorists need to practice extra care as well. Here are some tips and insights to help keep motorcyclists safe on the road.

Improved Technology

Just as technology has helped make cars safer, it’s doing the same for motorcycles. Antilock brakes help keep motorcycles under control in slippery conditions or when riders must brake hard; adaptive headlights can improve a biker’s ability to see in the dark; electronic tire pressure monitoring helps ensure proper tire inflation; and collision-avoidance tech is coming to motorcycles, offering alerts for forward collision, safe following distance, blind spots, and more.

Tech improvements aren’t limited to just the bike. Riders are benefiting from innovative gear that offers more protection, such as airbag jeans, vests, and bodysuits, which allow a person to ride normally, but inflate immediately before a fall. Helmets can also include cameras to help eliminate blind spots and offer wireless communication so riders can talk with one another and hear navigation instructions. Plus, augmented reality will soon be available, allowing motorcyclists to see the speedometer and maps without having to look away from the road.

Tips for bikers

Of course, the key to motorcycle safety is the person behind the handlebars. Bikers can help prevent (or minimize injury from) crashes by remembering the following:

  • Switch on headlights, marker lights, and taillights at dusk and in overcast or rainy weather.
  • Stay three to four seconds behind a vehicle you intend to pass. Before passing, check oncoming traffic from the left side of the lane, signal your intention to move over, and then check for oncoming traffic.
  • When completing a pass, check your rearview mirror and quickly look back to ensure the vehicle is a safe distance behind you before getting back over.
  • Wear a helmet that meets a high standard for protection.
  • Wear proper clothing, eyewear, and sturdy closed-toe footwear.

Tips for motorists

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,985 in 2018 (the most recent data available), but motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities. Motorists can help make the roads safer for motorcyclists with these simple precautions:

  • Be especially alert on weekends when more motorcyclists typically take to the road.
  • If you’re turning at an intersection, and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction. Scan for motorcyclists—pedestrians and bicyclists, too—then proceed with caution.
  • Provide motorcyclists plenty of room to maneuver. Stay at least three to four seconds behind them.
  • Allow extra maneuvering room between you and the motorcyclist in areas with potholes, pavement transitions, and railroad crossings, as they may need to slow down, stop, or adjust their lane position.
  • Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle. Motorcycles have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.
  • If a motorcycle is nearby, check your mirrors carefully before changing lanes. Motorcycles may be in your blind spots or difficult to see because of their smaller size.

Review Colorado’s motorcycle laws—and in states you may be traveling to or through—at DrivingLaws.AAA.com.