May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It serves as a good time to remember that motorcyclists have every right to share the road as do other motorists. This is especially important now that the winter weather is behind us, and more motorcyclists are taking to the streets in Pennsylvania.
However, motorcycling can be a dangerous endeavor. Last year, 3,447 Pennsylvania motorcyclists were involved in a collision. Of those 192 motorcyclists lost their lives in the accident. It is important for motorists to practice motorcycle awareness and drive safely around motorcyclists.
First, motorists should remember that motorcycles, due to their smaller size, are not always easy to spot. Drivers should always take a moment to look at their mirrors and blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes. This will help ensure that there are no motorcyclists in the way. If a motorist is going to merge into oncoming traffic or change lanes while on the road, they should make sure to use their blinkers.
In addition, motorists should allow a safe distance between them and a motorcyclist in front of them. For example, it is a good idea for a motorist to keep a four second distance. Also, remember that motorcyclists are afforded the same rights as automobiles while on the road. Therefore, motorists should make sure that the motorcyclist has the entire width of the lane, so the motorcyclist can respond safely to road conditions.
Finally, motorists should never drive drunk. This is good advice for any motorist, even those who are not driving around motorcyclists.
In the end, by taking the necessary safety precaution, motorists and motorcyclists can share the road safely. However, that does not mean that motorcycle accidents will not happen, leaving the motorcyclist seriously injured or even killed. Motorcyclists in such situations, or their loved ones (if the motorcyclist passed away), may want to consult with an attorney to learn more about their rights in the aftermath of the crash.
Source: Pocono Record, “Wolf Administration joins PennDOT in reminding motorcyclists to ride safely,” May 1, 2017