Motorcyclists know about the precautions they must take when sharing the road with any other vehicle that is much larger than theirs. The potential for a road mishap is possible, especially when the drivers of cars, SUVs, pick-ups and large trucks seem to take motorcycles for granted.
As Motorcycle Awareness Month kicks off in May, U.S. motorists must not just this month but every month to abide by the mantra and well-known bumper sticker of “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” They must share the road, abide by traffic laws and understand that they may be the biggest road hazard to a motorcyclist.
Thousands of injuries, thousands of deaths
About 82,000 motorcyclists were injured and nearly 5,000 more died in road mishaps in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such crashes occur wherever people live, including urban, suburban and rural areas.
Too many times, inattentive driving – when people are lost in thought or mentally preoccupied – surfaces as a reason for an accident with a motorcycle. And, other times, thanks to the ubiquitous use of smartphones by people behind the wheel, distracted driving is another reason.
Common mistakes made by car drivers
Such behavior as inattentive and distracted driving leads to many driver errors that threaten the lives of motorcyclists. Here are some of the more common such errors that car and truck drivers make:
- Making a left turn in front of motorcyclists: Whether not seeing the motorcycle or misjudging the speed of the motorcycle, drivers make this mistake that may prove fatal at intersections.
- Changing lanes into a motorcyclist’s path: A car driver may think he or she is making a safe maneuver, but, sometimes, they are unable to see the much smaller motorcycle. A blind spot may contribute to such accidents, but so can inattention and distraction.
- Failing to stop and striking a motorcycle from behind: When stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, a motorcyclist must continue to be vigilant, lest they get rear-ended by an inattentive or distracted driver.
The common ingredients behind motorcycle accidents caused by other drivers remain inattention, distraction and failure to see them. We must continue to increase the awareness of motorcycles and stress the importance of safety and sharing the road.