In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on American roads due to distracted driving. Now, April has become National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The MSF has put together a list of 10 things cagers need to know about driving around motorcycles. I hope you’re not reading this on your iPhone from the driver’s seat.
1. There are many more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road and some drivers don’t “recognize” motorcyclists. They ignore them, usually unintentionally. Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.
2. A motorcyclist may look farther away than he or she is in actuality. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, estimate 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 outside the car. Thoroughly check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
4. A motorcycle may seem to be moving faster than it really is. Again, don't immediately rely on your perceptions.
5. Motorcyclists sometimes slow down by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Don't tailgate motorcyclists. At intersections, anticipate that motorcyclists may slow down without any visual warning.
6. Turn signals on a motorcycle are not often automatically self-canceling. Some riders, (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off. Try to determine whether a motorcycle’s turn signal is for real. And if you’re driving a car, remember to use your turn signals too. They’re a great communication tool for riders and drivers when used properly.
7. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily, to avoid road debris, and deal with passing vehicles and wind. Understand that motorcyclists often adjust lane position for a purpose, and it's not an invitation for a car to share the lane with them.
8. Maneuverability can be one advantage for a motorcycle, but don’t expect that motorcyclist can always steer or swerve out of harm's way. Please leave motorcyclists room on the road, wherever they are around you.
9. Stopping distance for motorcycles can be nearly the same or better than that of cars. But wet or slippery pavement can put motorcyclists at a disadvantage. Don't violate a motorcyclist's right of way, especially in bad conditions.
10. Don’t think of it as a motorcycle, a machine: Think of the rider; the person on board is someone's son, daughter, spouse or parent. Unlike other motorists, protected by doors, roofs and airbags, motorcyclists have only their safety gear and are at greater risk from distracted drivers.
We’d like to add our own:
11. Put the fucking cellphone down and pay attention to the road. You’re operating a goddamn 2-ton murder machine, take some responsibility for your own actions for christ’s sake.
The MSF has released a website specifically for car drivers.