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10 ways drivers can share the road with riders

Kiwi drivers
Motorcycles are the fastest-growing category of vehicles on our roads and are allowed to lane filter, so drivers should pay more attention to riders than ever before.
Many crashes are caused by drivers not being mindful of motorcyclists. Auto accident attorneys in San Diego note that in 2016, over 5200 people lost their lives in motorcycle wrecks across the USA.
TorqueCars has published several articles about safe driving and has provided the following 10 tips for drivers to protect motorcyclists and themselves.
  1. Always check your blind spots. This is one of the main reasons for accidents involving cars and motorcycles. While switching between or merging lanes, it may be difficult to spot a motorcycle due to its smaller size. Motorcycles also tend to blend in and get lost in side-view and rear-view mirrors. Drivers should look twice for riders in their mirrors and over their shoulders before moving into another lane.
  2. Be careful when overtaking. Don’t overtake a motorcycle within their lane or so close that the aerodynamics of your vehicle upsets the stability of the motorcycle. Be sure to indicate your overtaking intention and indicate again when you return to your lane, at least three car lengths ahead of the motorcycle. 
  3. Don’t tailgate motorcycles. Always keep a sufficient following distance behind motorcycles as they tend to slow using their engine braking, rather than their brakes. That means there may be no brake light indication they have slowed down. Rear-ending a bike can be lethal to riders.
  4. Weather has a more dramatic effect on motorcycles than it does on cars. Rain and wind can make motorcycles unstable and reduce their grip for braking and turning. Riders suffer more from visibility problems than riders in fog, mist, rain and low sun as they do not have windscreen wipers or blinds, so give them some room. Motorcycles can also be more difficult to see in these conditions.Murphy's Law of riding in the rain drivers
  5. Night-riding can be unsafe for motorcyclists. Be careful not to dazzle riders at night with your high beams when approaching from the front or rear. Motorcycle headlights and rear lights can sometimes be weak and you may not see them until they are close. 
  6. Stay in your lane. Riders are allowed to occupy a whole traffic lane. Drivers are not permitted to drive in the same lane as a motorcycle. 
  7. Signal motorcyclists of your intent to turn. Start your turn signal earlier than normal when there is a motorcycle following you. Motorcycles don’t brake in as short a distance as cars because they have a reduce tyre contact patch. A late turn signal could result in a motorcycle hitting the back of your car.
  8. Intersections are risky zones. Most vehicle accidents occur at intersections, s taker extra care to look in all directions for motorcycles. They are small and you may not see them with a quick glance. Come to a complete stop, look twice and move off with caution.
  9. Look for turning motorcycles. Self-cancelling turns are rare on motorcycles. If you see a motorcycle with flashing indicators they may not be turning, but may have forgotten to switch them off. Don’t assume they will turn. Wait a moment longer.
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  10. Take a second look at turns. Before turning across a traffic lane, look for motorcycles coming toward you. Also look for motorcycles emerging between lanes of traffic or from behind a larger vehicle. 

Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a minor collision between a car and a motorcyclist. They are vulnerable road users.  It is the driver’s obligation to stay alert for motorcycles.

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  1. Motorcyclists need to remember that most cagers are oblivious morons who will pullout on a fire truck with lights and sirens change lanes without looking or indicating especially when traffic is queuing and they see a free lane. They will look you right in the eye and take it as an acknowledgement that they can pull out or barge into your lane and claim they didn’t see you (didn’t see you as a human being that is).

    1. Also Beware of hats and thick rimmed glasses and sunglasses that cut out too much light especially red light (either wearing these yourself or on other drivers) and horse floats and anything that has been advertised as being safe like Volvos used to be because they attract crap drivers.

  2. Hi Mark, I read all your facebook posts, keep up the good work.

    A couple of my thoughts:
    1. Looking over your shoulder is not necessary if the door mirrors are adjusted correctly. That is, very wide. If you can see the side of the car in the mirrors they are adjusted too close. When the mirrors are correct a glance to the side is all that’s needed. Looking back takes your attention from the road too long.
    7. Your turn signal should always be the first thing others see – not the brake lights. Similarly, use the turn signal before turning the steering wheel.
    10. What is the best way to tell a rider their blinker is still on? I’ve tried a short gentle beep to call attention to me – but only ever got a middle finger in return…

    I’ve got motorcycle, car and truck licences and have long said that no one should get a car licence till they have at least spent some time on a bike or at the wheel of a truck.
    Cheers, Ewan

    1. That’s a really good idea Ewan, put all learner drivers at the wheel of a truck
      & then they’d be able to practice crossing double white lines to overtake pushbikes
      preferably when you were driving your car toward them
      & it’d be completely safe because they’d be below the speed limit.

      Meanwhile police are booking motorcycles for overtaking across double lines when it’s completely safe.

    2. Ewan, mate,
      If you think “looking over your shoulder is not necessary” , don’t be surprised when someone kicks your doors in.

      1. AxlGrease, mate,
        If the mirrors are set correctly, that is well out, you can see a bike till it’s alongside the your shoulders on either side.
        For some weird reason many car drivers like to see the door handles in the mirrors…
        Cheers, Ewan.

  3. Hi Mark,
    I penned a few lines after reading your excellent piece on 10 ways car drivers can share the road with motorbike riders. I suggested additional ways of improving safety.
    Is it normal to get sarcastic negative comments in replies?
    If so, I will make a point of not commenting again.
    Cheers, Ewan K

    1. Hi Ewan,
      Yes, it is.
      Riders don’t hold back. They can be quite vitriolic.
      By the way, I agree that if drivers set their mirrors correctly there is NO blind spot and they don’t need to do a shoulder check. Very few people realise this.

  4. Cars sitting one behind the other on twisty roads. They’ve no chance of overtaking, but they refuse to leave a gap for a bike to work it’s way thru so you have to pass the whole lot in one go crossing double lines & yes . . . . . .

  5. Curved review mirrors are dangerous because they make vehicles appear further away than they really are. That’s why clowns in cars pull out on bikes all the time. Most merging accidents on motorways – & there are heaps – are caused by curved rearview mirrors.

  6. People are stupid. Always use your driving lights! They’re not diving lights dickhead, they’re fog lights. and as they point downward and are mounted low (for fog), they blind me on a wet night from reflection off the wet road.
    I wish fog lights could only be turned on when the main lights are off, like fog lights should be.

  7. Guys , in the final analysis it is you who is responsible for your own safety. All the other drivers out there will have many deficits in their road craft so you gotta develop your own to be better.
    If you know your territory you will know the dangerous bits.
    This morning I came down my usual strip and a car pulled out in front of me on a 100K zone. Fortunately I had flagged this intersection as a potential trouble spot and was ready for it, so no panic. The driver also realised her mistake and pulled over quickly, so I would say there are people out there who are considerate they, just like any bike rider, make mistakes.
    Yep and as for road lines, obey them, after all if you stick within them you will be less likely to come to grief both physically and legally. I have known engineers who have the responsibility for designating the lines, and their intention is safety, and that’s for all of us.

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