We were driving home a few days ago and I saw what could have been a serious accident. A motorcycle was splitting lanes between the carpool lane and the number one lane. A car pulled in behind it so close I thought at first the bike had been hit.
That’s not the only recent reminder of the dangers motorcycle riders face. A few months ago a man was killed just down the street. His young daughter was a passenger on the bike and saw it all happen. A car made a left turn and didn’t see the motorcycle. These aren’t uncommon events.
What to watch for: Motorcycles can do several things that a car can’t. They can also be difficult to see, especially if you’re driving into the sun. I suspect that was part of the problem with the fatal crash. We have to be aware of everything surrounding our vehicles, including what’s behind us. When we make a turn, we have to make sure to check for a motorcycle.
Splitting lanes: In some states this is illegal. On freeways and some roadways a motorcycle can fit between the cars of two lanes of traffic. It can be a dangerous ride. Some cars deliberately make it difficult for a rider to do this, according to riders I’ve talked to. One even said someone opened a door in traffic to prevent the rider from passing.
Move over: If you see a rider coming up behind you and splitting lanes, move over to give the rider more room to pass. They can ride on the “pot’s dots” but it is bumpy and can be slippery if the roadway is wet. It’s better to let them ride on the concrete. Most drivers I’ve observed on the freeways do that.
Listen: While not all motorcycles are loud, their engines make a different noise. It’s nice to have music playing while you drive, but if you can’t hear what’s going on around you there are many things that could cause you problems. One of them is having a bike go by without you even knowing it was there.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Motorcycles have the same privilege we do. It is our responsibility as drivers to make sure we drive safely and that means paying attention to the drivers around us no matter how many wheels they have.