There was a 70% rise in the number of motorcyclists killed on Irish roads in 2013 - 27 riders died compared to 17 in 2012 (see Irish Independent report). As someone who has been motorcycling since 1978 I am very aware that accident rates for motorcyclist are higher than other forms of transport. Many motorcyclists bring this on themselves by riding too fast and carelessly, but there are certain precautions that motorists can take to help reduce the death rates on our roads.
1. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle — they ignore it, usually unintentionally. Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at intersections.
2. A motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When at an intersection or driveway, realize that a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
3. A motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots or masked by objects or backgrounds. Take an extra moment to check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
4. A motorcycle may seem to be moving faster than it really is.
5. Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. At intersections, expect that a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
6. Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Watch for other signs that a motorcyclist is making a turn.
7. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose.
8. Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to be able to dodge out of the way.
9. Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more distance behind a motorcycle.
10. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injury in traffic collisions. When a motorcycle is in motion, think of it as a person.
Source: Knudtson, R. & K. (2014) It's Motorcycle Awareness Month. Globegazette. Available at: http://bit.ly/1qvfPhR.
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