Spring is doing its best to overtake winter. I’ve seen flowers, buds in the trees and this morning I heard birds chirping. While all of these signs make other people think of gardening and getting outdoors, I think of motorcycles. Yes, keeping watch for motorcycles. Because when the weather gets nice, the bikers come out and we all need to sharpen our driving skills to keep everyone safe.
The Department of Transportation estimates that motorcycle crashes make up 15 percent of traffic fatalities. Roughly half of those crashes involve collisions with another vehicle.
Some riders say it’s around this time—the beginning of the warm season—when things get bad.
Watch for motorcycles: Look Twice – Save a Life!
- When you see a single headlight or two headlights close together: Slow down and take your time. Smaller objects may be traveling faster then they seem at first glance.
- Give the motorcycle in front of you plenty of room. It’s hard to tell when a motorcyclist is applying the brakes because their taillights are always on. Also, motorcycles can stop much faster than your car or truck can because it is so much lighter.
- Let them swerve. Motorcycles must be careful to avoid road debris you can safely drive over. Also, if a motorcyclist moves close to the center line, it probably because he or she is making sure they can be seen by the driver in front of them. They’re avoiding your blind spot.
- Change lanes cautiously: Make absolutely certain there’s no one in your blind spot.
- Left-hand turns can be killers! If you’re turning left in front of oncoming traffic, give yourself a ton of room before turning. And look twice!
- Use your turn signals: You should always communicate your plans to other drivers, but this is particularly important around motorcyclists. Signal to indicate your turns and drive predictably.
Watch this video and share it with your teen drivers! It’s from a teen’s perspective and is a powerful piece packed with great information.
Motorcyclists: Insure your Bike!
I know I beat this dead horse, but spring is when we see a lot of uninsured motorcyclists on the road. Riders want to save a few dollars over the winter and so they let their insurance lapse. Then, the weather turns nice, your bike is sitting there tempting you, and you think, “One quick ride won’t hurt anything!”
But it can hurt a lot. If you get in an accident (whether it’s your fault or not), you could be looking at life-changing medical bills. I cannot stress enough that anyone who owns a motorcycle should purchase the absolute maximum they can afford in insurance. At a minimum, you should have $250,000 in Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your motorcycle insurance.
Additionally, if you own your home, you need to add an umbrella policy to your homeowner’s insurance that covers UIM for your motorcycle. Get the most coverage that you can get but, at a minimum, you should get $1 million in coverage.