For Car Drivers: 10 Things You Need to Know About Motorcycles

MSFThere is only so much you can do as a motorcyclist to stay safe on the road. And no matter how safe you are, no matter how much protective gear you wear, you’re still riding the smallest vehicle on the road without a seat belt, without airbags, and without walls protecting you from the pavement. Not to mention the thousand pound machines operated by distracted drivers that surround you on every side.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation encourages all riders to exercise caution on the road, but they also realize that car drivers need to do a little more to keep riders safe. Here are 10 things that the MSF says car drivers need to know about motorcycles.

  1. Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve a four wheel vehicle, and most of the time, it’s the car that is at fault.
  2. Since motorcycles are a lot smaller than cars, they can easily hide in a blind spot. Car drivers need to take an extra second to check mirrors and blind spots.
  3. Since motorcycles are small, it can be hard to judge their distance and speed. Car drivers should remember that a motorcycle is usually closer than it appears.
  4. Motorcycles often slow down by rolling off the throttle, and not necessarily by braking. Car drivers should give motorcycles a little bit more space, and realize that motorcycles may be slowing down without a visual warning.
  5. A motorcycle changing position within a lane is usually doing so for a reason, either to avoid road debris, to get ready to pass a vehicle, or to minimize wind. A motorcycle moving within a lane does not mean that they are being reckless.
  6. On most motorcycles, the turn signals will not turn off automatically. Some riders, usually beginners, may continue to ride after a turn with their signals on.
  7. A motorcycle may be extremely maneuverable, but don’t expect a rider to be able to dodge out of the way.
  8. Motorcycles have the same braking power as cars, but have a harder time braking on wet pavement.
  9. When a motorcycle is in motion, cars should try to see more than the motorcycle. Try to put a face to the object.
  10. Causing a crash with a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, is something that is very hard for a car driver to forget.

The MSF makes a few good points, and the road would be a safer place if all car drivers knew the above items. But as a rider, you can’t expect them to know any of the above. In fact, as a rider, you should assume that car drivers are bad drivers.

But as long as we’re making a wish list for what we hope car drivers knew about motorcycles, here are a few more.

  1. You’re phone call can wait. No one’s that important.
  2. Just because you can’t hear the wind inside your car, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t moving. Driving a three ton machine at 70 MPH is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly.

Anything else you think car drivers should know?

You can get more safety tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation here.

Courtesy of

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