Drivers Beware: Warmer Weather Means More Motorcycles
Diehard motorcyclists ride year round. For the rest of the riding world, the tune-ups start as the gear and helmets come out around that first day above sixty degrees. This is also when the statistics start to rise on motorcycle related accidents.
The number one cause of motorcycle fatalities is a passenger vehicle making a left hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle. This accounts for seventy-five percent of all motorcycle accidents. It is difficult to judge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle. So the driver often thinks he or she can beat the rider. Another alarming factor is that often times, the driver did not see the rider.
When we signal to turn in our cars, the blinker engages. After completing the turn, the turn signal automatically turns off. This is not true for most motorcycles. Older motorcycles have a manual signal switch. The signal turns on when the rider pushes the button, and stays on until the rider pushes the button to turn the signal off. Never take for granted that a motorcycle with a flashing turn signal is going to turn.
These days, everyone seems to be in a hurry. As I drove my car to the office this morning, I decided to count the number of times I saw a driver tailgating another vehicle. Eleven times I counted a tailgater on a nine mile trip. If the car in front of the tailgater stops suddenly, the most that will happen is a fender bender. If the motorcyclist has to stop suddenly in front of a tailgating vehicle (the motorcyclist dreads this - the rider knows how close you are) the results will be much more than a fender bender.
The most vulnerable motorist on the road is the motorcyclist. Riders share the road with cars, buses, trucks and other motorcycles. The motorcyclist is naked in a sense. Riding down the highway, keeping pace with traffic at speeds of up to seventy-five miles an hour, the motorcyclist cannot slam on the brakes. If the rider goes down or gets hit by another vehicle, there is no metal chassis to protect the rider. There is no airbag to cushion the impact; just asphalt, steel and fiberglass.
The next time you happen to be driving to the store, to the gym or on your way to work, be sure to look twice. You just might spare someone's life.