Whether a busy road or riding on an interstate, merging is not always an easy task. For motorcyclists, merging safely is a bit more difficult than it is for a passenger vehicle. The roadway is constantly changing, and for a motorcyclist, that split second of shifted focus can be potentially problematic. Bikers have to take extra caution in changing lanes because, well, many drivers have trouble seeing and accommodating for motorcycles. So, what can riders, and drivers, do to make sure the roadway is safe for everyone? Well, it starts with paying close attention to the drivers around you and keeping safe following distances. Accidents are always a possibility, however, many are preventable…
Merging Safely for Motorcyclists and how Drivers can Help
It starts with following distance
As riders and drivers, you each have a responsibility to maintain a proper following distance. Plenty of accidents can be prevented by allowing everyone space to make changes when need be. From unexpected stops, to crashes up ahead, to traffic, and roadway obstructions— being a safe driver starts with the knowledge that anything can happen.
No one wants to prepare for worst case scenario, but having that idea of ‘what if’ in the back of your mind is pretty important while driving. Riding closely to a tractor trailer? What if they brake suddenly? A motorcycle is coming from a right lane that is closing and you speed up? What if traffic locks up quickly as you speed to prove a point? You’re in a hurry so you weave through a pack of cars? What if a police officer is ahead? Or worse, what if you lose control and hit a guard rail? The possibilities for accident are always endless. So, consider them before you make a move that can be potentially reckless.
Be observant, courteous, and safe
Merging safely for motorcyclists takes a bit of effort from all sides. It is not anyone’s job to take care of others on the roadway but, sometimes, taking care of others equals taking care of yourself. If you see a motorcyclist signaling a lane change, give them space to do so. But, one of the most difficult parts for drivers, is the lowered visibility of motorcycles.
Many times in a motorcycle-related accident, the driver will say ‘they came out of nowhere’. While the statement isn’t entirely true, it isn’t entirely false. Motorcycles are small, sometimes shifty, and it can feel as if they just appeared out of the blue. So, check around you on a regular basis. Be proactive by checking your blind spots every now and then, look in your rear-view, listen to the sounds of the roadway. Doing so, might just save yours, or someone else’s life.
Accidents are always a possibility, and you knew getting onto that motorcycle that your defenses are down. So, while passenger vehicles should be more observant ant and mindful, it is up to you to drive responsibly. Merging quickly can be dangerous; speeding up to pass a vehicle can be dangerous; weaving in and out of traffic because you can is extremely dangerous. So, wear your proper gear, drive courteously, and find ways to make yourself known before making a move. We wish you luck, and a fun riding season!