Motorcyclists around Rhode Island are readying their motorcycles for the spring and summer. While motorcycle riders must take steps to prepare themselves for riding season, other drivers should also prepare to share the road with motorcyclists. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, an educational campaign intended to remind everyone to obey traffic laws and share the road.
Tips for Car Drivers
Motorcyclists have the same rights as other drivers on the road. To prevent traffic accidents, motorists should be particularly aware of motorcycle riders because of their smaller size. Motorcyclists can be harder to see in a vehicle's blind spot. Drivers should always check for motorcycles in their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or leaving an intersection.
Motorists should also give motorcycle riders more following distance. When following a motorcyclist, allow three to four seconds of space so he or she has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Drivers should also be aware that minor road conditions can have a much greater impact on motorcyclists. Motorists should understand that motorcycle riders may change lanes or accelerate quickly to avoid traffic and road conditions such as wet spots, potholes, grooved pavement and railroad crossings. Motorcyclists should also take steps to prepare for unforeseen circumstances on the road.
Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Before taking the bike out after a long winter, motorcyclists should lube and adjust the chain, check cables for wear, check fluid levels, test brakes, turn signals and lights, and even go through a practice route to brush up on riding skills.
Riders should also be sure they have proper gear before going out for a ride. Motorcyclists should wear a DOT approved helmet. Helmets with a DOT label meet federal safety standards. The helmet should also offer eye protection. If the helmet does not have a shield, motorcyclists should wear a pair of goggles or glasses.
When it comes to clothing, riders should invest in quality materials. Wearing a leather jacket and a pair of leather pants helps put a bit more between the rider and roadway. For additional protection, riders should also be sure to have non-slip gloves and boots that rise above the ankle.
To stay safe while riding, motorcyclists should make sure other drivers can see them and avoid riding in the blind spots of other vehicles. Bikers should also keep a safe distance from drivers in front of them, and should not weave through traffic or ride on the shoulder. All of these practices can help keep riders and drivers safe during riding season.