Motorcyclists need respect too
For those of you who have read previous articles I’ve written you know that I promote road safety to everyone. It’s important to share the road regardless of who you are as it helps to keep everyone safe. Previously, I’ve only mentioned motorcyclists in various articles, but this article is dedicated to them and their safety from other drivers. Do you drive any differently near motorcyclists compared to drivers of cars, SUV’s and all the other vehicles like that?
I was recently on the freeway when a driver came up behind me and my passenger while we were driving along with the flow of traffic. As many will attest to, I dislike tailgating tremendously. This driver was riding my bumper at freeway speeds, so I decided to remove the risk and change lanes to my right. As that driver sped past me, they decided to do the same thing to the motorcyclist ahead of them. This motorcyclist also had a passenger on the back of their bike, yet the driver of the SUV decided that didn’t matter. Should it? Of course not.
If drivers can put a little thought into their action before attempting them, they may become safer drivers and everyone around them can also become safer. The driver of the motorcycle can brake and stop extremely quick; quicker than passenger vehicles traveling at the same speed. Tailgating never gives you enough time to see brake lights, take your foot from the gas and move it to the brake and finally stop the vehicle. The reality is, you’re never really saving time by following so closely, so why tailgate anyone?
Drivers inside the seating compartment of passenger vehicles sometimes take safety for granted. They have a seatbelt and airbags aimed at them from all directions, plus a variety of other safety features, depending on the vehicle. For most motorcyclists, the only safety device they’ll have is a helmet. If the motorcyclist brakes hard for an emergency, the tailgating driver will toast them. Even with the rear wheel locked, it can stop quicker than a passenger vehicle and if you’re tailgating them, the rider doesn’t have a chance.
We often hear of motorcyclists in collisions with passenger vehicles and rarely do they result without serious injury or death to the rider. By comparison, motorcyclists have a higher percentage of serious injury compared to fatalities. On the other side, drivers of passenger vehicles have a lower percentage of serious injuries compared to fatalities. Is this because the vehicles are safer and have more safety features? Possibly, but drivers of passenger vehicles who are traveling near motorcyclists need to keep an eye out for motorcycle riders. Many motorcycle riders are experienced enough to deal with traffic on a daily basis, but when another driver does something suddenly without thinking near them; it puts the rider and passenger of the motorcycle at risk of serious injury or death.
It’s time to respect motorcycle riders and their passengers. Give them the space and the respect they deserve. Keep checking your mirrors regularly so you’ve know if they are approaching you from behind. This gives you enough information in case they momentarily disappear from your mirror before changing lanes. Paying attention to the driving environment will help keep everyone safer; including motorcyclists.