According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), there were 5,172 motorcyclists and 783 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2017. While bikers, whether on a motorcycle or bicycle, should be taking precautions of their own, there are many steps that you, as a driver, can take to share the road safely.
To begin, it's crucial for all drivers to understand that bicyclists and motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as people behind the wheel of a vehicle. Cyclists of both kinds must obey signs and signals, follow traffic laws, and listen to traffic control devices.
Due to their size, bikes and motorcycles can be difficult to notice. But practicing safe behaviors can help all drivers to share the road and avoid accidents.
Drive with caution. Don't tailgate a motorcyclist or bicyclist, especially in bad weather. Give the rider plenty of space, and don't underestimate their speed.
Leave room when passing. Try to leave a couple of feet between you and a cyclist when passing (as you would when passing another vehicle) and check over your shoulder before moving lanes.
Always check your blind spots. You might not notice a biker out of the corner of your eye in the rearview mirror, but always take the extra step to turn your head and look in all directions before changing lanes, driving through an intersection, or pulling into a parking space.
Look before opening your door. If you're parked on a side street, look up and down the road before opening your door—you don't want to smack a bicyclist in the face.
Learn biking hand signals. While motorcycles have turn signals, many bicycles do not. Cyclists will use hand signals to alert drivers or other riders about where they're going. For example, fully extending the left arm to the left side signals a left turn. Extending the left arm out at a right angle indicates the rider is slowing or stopping.
Stay off your phone. If you're not looking at the road, you're not going to see a bike or motorcycle pop up in the lane next to you.
Think about the potential accident. Imagine the size of a bicycle compared to the size of a car. In the case of a crash, the bike will almost always lose. Drive smart to avoid getting hurt and hurting others.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to keeping our viewers accident-free, which is why we initiated the Drive Safe campaign. Steer clear of danger with our monthly tips.