How to safely share the road with motorcyclists in California

Motorcycle accidents are all too common and can result in serious injuries or death, but there are steps drivers can take to help share the roads safely.

Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation for people in Fremont, and throughout California. All too often, however, collisions involving motorcycles and other, larger motor vehicles occur. This can, and often does, result in serious injuries and death for motorcyclists, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. While not all collisions are preventable, there are steps that drivers can take to help safely share the road with motorcycles.

Allow ample space

Although they are smaller, motorcycles actually require more room to maneuver safely. Consequently, it is generally not a good idea for motor vehicles to share lanes with motorcycles. Drivers should also allow more following distance when driving behind motorcycles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends allowing three to four seconds between a motorcycle and a larger vehicle. This gives riders ample time and space to maneuver and stop safely.

Check blind spots

Cars, trucks, SUVs and other motor vehicles have blind spots. Due to their small size, motorcycles can easily get lost in these spots and drivers may miss them. As such, it is important for drivers to check their mirrors and their blind spots closely before entering or leaving traffic lanes. Doing so may help them see a motorcyclist they otherwise would have missed.

Watch the signals

Unlike many motor vehicles, the signals on motorcycles are generally not self-cancelling. As a result, they may be unintentionally left on. Therefore, it is advisable that drivers use caution and determine a motorcyclist's intentions before proceeding. This may help ensure drivers do not turn into, cut off or merge into motorcycles, which may prevent some motorcycle accidents.

Road conditions can be hazardous

Any number of conditions may exist on California roads. This includes potholes, slick or wet surfaces, gravel or pavement seams. For most motor vehicles, these conditions may be a minor inconvenience, or go completely unnoticed. For motorcycles, however, these conditions could pose serious dangers.

In order to safely maneuver through these conditions, motorcyclists may need to suddenly adjust their position within a lane or change speed. The California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that drivers be aware of how these conditions may impact motorcycles and use extra care when they exist.

Avoid drunk or distracted driving

Most people are aware that driving while drunk or distracted can be highly dangerous. This is particularly true when driving on the road with motorcycles. Drivers who are intoxicated or distracted may be less likely to see motorcyclists, which may increase the chances of them being involved in a crash. Additionally, drunk and distracted drivers may not have the presence of mind to use the extra care and caution needed to safely share the road with motorcycles.

Seek legal guidance

Even when drivers and motorcyclists use care and caution, accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles may still occur. Those who are injured in such collisions often require medical treatment and follow-up care, which may lead to undue medical expenses. Depending on the situation, however, the motorist responsible for causing the crash could be held financially responsible for the resulting damages. Working with an attorney may help people who have experienced this type of situation to obtain the compensation they need and deserve.