Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sharing the road: It’s our responsibility

Earlier this month we shared that Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring that the month of May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.

Sharing the road is all drivers’ responsibility. Motorists are required to share the road with all types of vehicles, from the small 10-speed bicycle to the large 18-wheeler semi-trucks.  Today we will discuss how to share the road with motorcycles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, motorcycles have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle. Driving safely in the company of motorcycles does require extra caution.

Due to their size, motorcycles can be more difficult to see. This can make it difficult to judge their distance and speed. Giving an extra three to four seconds while following behind these vehicles is the best way to give them time to maneuver or stop if an emergency were to arise. Keep in mind that since motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks, they come to a full stop much more quickly than other vehicles.

Despite the smaller size of motorcycles, a full lane width is still required when traveling around them. Just because it may appear that there is a great deal of extra space doesn’t mean that the lane can be safely shared.

Motorcycles may be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Check all mirrors and always look twice before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. Motorcyclists are encouraged to be safe and be seen by wearing bright colors and a helmet to avoid head injuries.

One of the best ways to avoid a tragedy is though communication. Always signal what you intend to do before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This will signal to the motorcyclist what to expect so they can adjust accordingly.

Remember: Getting behind the wheel of any vehicle requires a sense of responsibility, and it is up to all of us to share the road.  

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