Watch for cyclists! With the weather warming up, more and more motorcyclists will be out on the road. Even though they must follow pretty much the same traffic laws as the rest of us, larger vehicles need to keep an extra eye out for their safety and ours.
We Need to Be Aware!!
Motorcycles are extremely difficult to see on the road and are often caught in driver’s blind spots. Although many of them rely on their loud exhausts to create awareness of their presence, many motorcycles are extremely quiet depending on their style and most modern cars have excellent soundproofing.
Knowing how difficult these vehicles are to see, divers need to be much more aware of their surroundings while driving. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, over 2,900 motorcycle crashes were reported in 2015, 132 of which were fatal. If these numbers are to ever decrease, drivers will need to learn how to watch for motorcyclists on the road.
It’s Not Too Late to Change
Fear not, there are indeed a few tricks for improving your driver awareness.
Left Lane Leeriness
You might not even think about it, but when you enter into a turn lane, especially left-hand turn lanes, you should exercise extra caution. Cyclists, as well as other drivers, tend to prematurely merge into turn lanes and if you decide to merge later, then you could accidentally hit them. This might not sound too bad, but a simple tap to a motorcyclist could cause him or her to spiral out of control.
The same goes for merging lanes on the highway. Instead of taking a quick glance, use your turn signal and check two or three times in your mirrors and physically glancing behind you to check blind spots.
In addition to merging, some states, like California, allow cyclists to ride in between cars on the dotted line. Arizona does not allow that but that doesn’t mean it never happens.
Always be aware of cyclists that do this and weave in and out of traffic erratically. If you encounter this, don’t slam your breaks. Keep steady and gradually slow down. Breaking immediately while they’re beside you could startle them since they are judging your current speed to maneuver.
Reconsider the Road Rage
Although you might be irritated with how recklessly some motorcyclists ride, don’t let that deter you from caring. There are many responsible cyclists on the road that rely on you to watch for motorcycles.
So the next time you’re out for a drive, be sure to take extra care, you never know when an extra glance could save a life.
A: B. Delamater
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