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Look Twice For Motorcycles!
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By Chief Engineer Greg Whitman
May 22, 2017

With Memorial Day being just around the corner, that means Summer will be in full swing. The warmer weather means many people will be parking their cars, SUVs and Pickups and taking to the road on two wheels. All motorists need to be aware of Motorcyclists and stay alert. Here are some tips from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration for drivers of 4 wheels and for riders of 2.

For drivers of passenger vehicles:
Motorcycles are vehicles and their riders have the same rights and privileges as anyone else on the roadway. But in crashes, a motorcyclist is six times more likely to be hurt than a car driver. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, and it can be harder to judge the speed and distance of an oncoming motorcycle. Violating a motorcyclist's right of way in a crash that causes a serious injury could cost you three points and a $1,000 fine.

Yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcycle when turning left. Violating a motorcyclist’s right of way can result in a citation with significant penalties if you cause a serious injury. Drivers are at fault in just over half of car crashes with motorcycles. Look carefully for motorcyclists at intersections.

Look twice before changing lanes or merging into traffic. Use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to be sure it is safe before merging or changing lanes. Motorcycles can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. And please use your turn signals to let others know you intend to move over! We all share a common road.

Give Riders plenty of space. Traffic, weather and road conditions require the motorcyclists to react and maneuver differently. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to maneuver and enough time for you to adjust.

Use care when driving near a group of motorcyclists. Motorcyclists participate in organized rides which can involve many motorcycles. Driving around these groups requires communication and patience. If you need to change lanes or reach an exit, signal your intention early and wait for the riders in the group to create a gap for you. Do not merge in between groups or riders unless there is enough space to do it safely.

For Riders:
Get trained, get licensed. To operate a motorcycle in Maryland you are required to have a motorcycle license. A great way to obtain your motorcycle license is to complete the Basic Rider Training at one of the many motorcycle safety training centers across Maryland. If you are an experienced rider, but don’t have a motorcycle license, you may be able to participate in the Fast Track Licensing program. Prepare yourself my studying the Maryland Motorcycle Operator’s Manual.

Ride Sober. Motorcycle riding and alcohol don’t mix. Four out of every 10 riders killed had been drinking, and many had high blood alcohol concentrations. Drinking slows your reaction time, affects your balance, coordination and vision—and increases your risk of crashing. And if you’re caught riding impaired, your bike could be impounded.

Gear up before you roll out. Wearing properly-fitting motorcycle-specific protective clothing can prevent serious injury in a crash. Over the ankle boots, gloves, a protective jacket and pants and a properly-fitted helmet with face shield or protective eyewear are all part of the full gear package. Choose riding gear that increases your visibility in traffic in addition to providing protection in the event of a crash. Use bright colors and retro-reflective strips or decals, especially at night.

Make sure your bike is ready to go. Perform an inspection before every ride. Your tires are critical to your safety, so make sure they are in good condition and properly inflated.

Ride so you are seen. There is no one safe place to ride within a lane. Use lane positioning to be seen. Ride with your headlight on and consider using a modulating headlight or adding LED accent lighting.

Give yourself space and time to react. Allow space for emergency braking or for avoiding a crash. Make your lane moves gradually. Expect the unexpected and pretend that you are invisible to motorists.

Signal your intentions. Signal before changing lanes. Avoid weaving between lanes. Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.

Be courteous and respect other road users. Being courteous, non-aggressive and cooperative can go a long way in reducing crashes.

For more information, please see the link below.

Hyperlinks: Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Motorcycle Safety
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