This weekend found the Long Beach Police Department engaging in a motorcycle safety enforcement operation in areas in the city that are known to be frequented by motorcyclists. In a new report, the LBPD offers a series of tips that can be followed by automobile operators and motorcyclists alike in order to help promote safety.
The first tips being offered are geared toward persons behind the wheel of vehicles other than motorcycles. Given the difficulty of spotting a motorcycle when compared to other vehicles, it’s not surprising that the first tip simply advises drivers to double check that a motorcycle isn’t going to be in their line of travel when they attempt to switch lanes or enter an intersection. Glancing quickly into mirrors and blind spots can help prevent a tragedy.
When you do make the decision to switch lanes, always signal what you’re doing before you initiate the action. This alerts motorcyclists and other vehicles to your intentions and gives other drivers time to react. On the other hand, don’t take for granted that a motorcycle is going to turn just because its turn signal is engaged. Many motorcycles require the driver’s input to cancel a turn signal, often leading to a situation where the turn signal is on but the driver doesn’t realize it. Tread cautiously amid such circumstances.
If you’re coming up on a motorcycle, give the vehicle plenty of room (about three to four seconds’ worth of space). The motorcyclist needs to be given plenty of time to react in an emergency, and so do you, especially in dry conditions, as the smaller vehicles can stop more quickly than larger cars or trucks.
Motorcyclists can also follow a few tips to preserve their own wellbeing. Before you even start your motorcycle, you should equip yourself with a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation and brightly colored protective gear adorned with stickers and reflective tape.
Once aboard the motorcycle, drivers are advised to put themselves in a lane where other motorists will be able to easily distinguish the motorcycle from the surrounding traffic. When you do need to switch lanes, a combination of hand signals and turn signals can be used to draw further attention to your upcoming actions. Motorcyclists should also abstain from traveling in inclement weather conditions that could imperil safe travel.
Finally, a couple tips that should be heeded by all drivers. Drivers should never focus their attention on distractions like texting or anything else that takes eyes from the road. And it should go without saying that motorcyclists and automobile drivers alike should never get behind the wheel if they are impaired.