Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Reminder - Motorcycles May be Invisible!

Please be careful, and aware! Motorcycle Crashes are on the rise. We had another motorcycle fatality last night, the second one in less than two weeks here on the Cape.

Shamelessly stolen from Daniel Lowney's column:
1. Due to the small size of most motorcycles, (when compared to conventional vehicles) they can easily be hidden in a car or truck’s blind spot, blend in with the backgrounds along the roadways or get hidden by bushes, fences, posts, etc.
Before driving into traffic, make sure you clearly check the roadway for all vehicles, especially motorcycles. The same goes for when you are changing lanes or taking turns at intersections. Look out for motorcycles everywhere.
2. Due to the small size of most motorcycles, they may seem to be moving faster than they really are.
Make sure you can properly judge the distance between your vehicle and the motorcycle before turning. Be careful and don’t pull up behind one too fast or you could easily rear-end it.
3. In many instances, the operator of a motorcycle will slow the bike down by downshifting or letting off the throttle. In cases like this, the brake lights will not activate.
The next thing you know, you have a stopped motorcycle in front of you and you can’t stop in time. This is a very common cause of motorcycle versus vehicle collisions. Use caution when coming up behind a motorcycle and be ready to stop with short notice should the driver not use the brakes lights LIKE THEY SHOULD!
4. How many times have you seen a motorcycle driving along with a directional light on but the driver is not turning? This is due to the fact that most motorcycle turn signals are not self-canceling. Therefore, many motorcycle riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to shut them off.
Before you pull in front of a motorcycle because you think they are turning, make darn sure they are turning before you make your move.
5. The stopping distance for a motorcycle is the same as for cars, however, only a seasoned motorcycle driver really knows how to properly apply the brakes on a motorcycle. It involves a precise combination of the front brake and the rear brake. If the motorcyclist locks up on either one too hard, they are going to be tail over tea kettle down the roadway.
Do not expect any motorcyclist to be a professional rider. Assume they are all beginners (which may be partially true!) and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Do not make moves in your car that could cause the motorcyclist to lock up their brakes. Give them plenty of room and plenty of time to stop.


  1. These are some good reminders. I will make sure my daughter reads them.

  2. Thanks for this, FF. Hopefully it will be read, and read widely!

    The one serious get-off I've had in my over 45 years of riding happened because a 17-year old girl made a left turn in front of me while I was doing 70 mph on a fast two-lane in Michigan's Thumb. The road had excellent sight-lines, the weather was clear, and I had my headlight on "bright." The girl told the usual sad, sad tale to the State police: "I didn't see him."

    I hit her just behind the rear door on the passenger side of her car, throwing me over the trunk and sliding on down the road for about a hundred yards. My passenger wasn't so lucky: she hit the rear fender and dropped like a stone, snapping her femur in half. I got away with two compression fractures in my vertebrae... and lotsa physical therapy.

    Neither my passenger nor I lost a drop of blood (externally), however. We were both in full racing leathers. The EMTs piled out of the ambulance with enough gauze in hand to wrap the Empire State Building and were simply amazed neither of us had no scratches, abrasions, or cuts. Thank God for small favors, eh?

  3. Thanks Lou - check out the link for motorcycle rider tips as well!

    Buck - Wow! You and your rider were soooooo lucky to be alive! I used to ride years ago, but because of a balance problem I had to give it up. I can't tell you how many close calls I was involved in. I believe "distraction" causes more MV vs Bike crashes, than any other reason.

  4. FF- we used to call them 'organ donors' since FL did not have helmet laws, so not many survived major accidents (or minor ones in some cases). I used to ride off-road/motocross, but gave that up because my old bones don't heal real fast!

  5. NFO - Off road/Motorcross- now that's some tough ridin there cowboy! Never will understand the no helmet deal. I was always afraid of leaving my brains on the pavement. (BTW-This comment is NOT an open invitation to talk about where I DID leave my brains!)

  6. It bugs me when I see some guy with a crotch rocket shoot through a traffic jam at 80mph between rows of stopped cars.

    I've seen too much motorcycle road pizza in my lifetime.

    Good tips.

  7. Thanks Hammer! I agree, there are alot of motorcycle accidents caused because of the riders stupidity. Speed, daredevil stunts, ignorance... no offense to the sensible twenty-somethings out there but the majority of the accidents I've had to deal with are with young,inexperienced riders who think they are indestructible.