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Ride To Work Day Calls Attention To Driving Safety Around Motorcycles

The parking lots around many businesses may have looked a little different on Monday, June 15. The motorcycle advocacy organization Ride to Work asked motorcyclists – and scooter owners, as well – to head to the office on two wheels.

Ride to Work Day has several purposes, the organization said. It shows that motorcycle riders represent a variety of occupations, and that these two-wheeled vehicles are useful for day-to-day transportation and not just recreation.

The event also serves as a reminder that it's important for drivers to stay aware of the two-wheeled vehicles around them. Warm weather brings more motorcyclists out to the roads and highways, and their risk of fatal accidents is especially high from May to September, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Other drivers can help motorcyclists arrive safely

In most accidents that injure motorcyclists, other vehicles are involved, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By keeping an eye out for motorcycles and giving them plenty of space, other drivers can help prevent these accidents.

  • Let them have the full lane. Motorcycles may not take up much space, but they need the full width of the lane to themselves, just like a car, the NHTSA stated. Avoid pulling alongside a motorcycle in its lane.

  • Avoid distractions. Talking on the phone, adjusting the radio and other tasks that take your attention away from driving can put all your fellow travelers at risk, including motorcyclists. Keep your eyes – and your focus – on the road, the NHTSA warned.

  • Understand that motorcycles handle differently. Motorcyclists' brake lights may not come on when they're slowing down, since many slow by downshifting or easing off the gas, rather than putting on the brakes. So it's a good idea to allow more distance between your vehicle and the motorcycle, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Also, motorcycles' turn signals often don't shut themselves off after the rider finishes changing direction. So be aware that a signal doesn't necessarily mean the rider is actually about to turn.

  • Watch carefully for motorcyclists. Since they're smaller than other vehicles on the road, motorcycles can be harder to see, especially when they're in your vehicle's blind spots. You may also have a harder time judging how far away they are or how fast they're going, the MSF​ noted. When changing lanes and turning left across oncoming traffic lanes, be sure you're watching for motorcyclists.

  • Also, whether you're a motorcyclist or a driver, be sure you have an insurance policy that will cover damages if you're at fault in an accident. Check out CoverHound to find car or motorcycle insurance options that meet your needs.

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