Thursday, May 2, 2013

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

Motorcycling season is upon us in many parts of  Canada and the United States.  Each year we hear of increasing fatalities of motorcyclists, some are due to rider error, but a large number of MVI's involving a motorcycle are caused by inattentiveness of  vehicle drivers.

Let's face it motorcyclists and scooterists have lower profiles in traffic and after a long winter, drivers just aren't used to looking for motorcyclists or scooterists.  This is where we come in by making ourselves as conspicuous as we can by wearing appropriate clothing, practicing good road skills and being hyper aware.  The old phrase that comes to my mind and I tell this to every newb I meet "Drive like you are invisible" in other words you have to assume that every car driver on the road does not see you and it is your job to get noticed.  Use correct lane positioning to give you optimum visibility advantage, don't drive in the blind spot.  Make yourself noticeable - wear hi viz, leave yourself good space margins around your bike or scooter and constantly scan your area, make eye contact with drivers and never assume anything, it can be deadly.  Practice S-I-P-D-E *Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute, while riding. 

Left hand turns at intersections seem to be a particularly bad place for a motorcyclist to be and they get nailed by a car turning left.  The first thing out of the driver's mouth "I didn't see them".  Distracted driving is another cause accidents, with all of the electronic gadgetry available today cell phones are the biggest distraction inside a vehicle.  When an electronic device is added into the interior of a vehicle the driver's visual processing speed/cognition is decreased by 50%.  We have all seen them, talking and texting while moving or stopped at lights.  In 2010 a law was passed in the Province of British Columbia banning handheld electronic device use, but it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference  to the texters/cellphone.

Basic driver skills get sloppy over time, and we have all been on the receiving end of a  bad lane change by a car driver at one point or another and it is very frustrating as a motorcyclists to know that it could have been avoided by the driver making a simple shoulder check instead of just relying on mirrors alone. 

Everyone who drives a car or rides a motorcycle has to learn to use the same road space and we all have to work together to make it safer for all road users.  Motorists please don't engage in distracted driving, practice good road skills, shoulder check before changing lanes and be completely aware of who is sharing the road space.  Do your part - drive smart.

Motorcyclists practice good road skills, obey traffic laws, make yourself CONSPICUOUS.  Take a motorcycle safety course if you are just learning to ride.    If you are a long term rider take an Advanced Motorcycle course to brush up on your skills.  Wear protective gear it does make a difference in crash outcomes. Do your part - ride smart. 


Trobairitz said...

We are all responsible for our own safety and risk factors.

We can only control what is in our power and minimize the risks as much as we can.

When I see other motorcyclist tailgate cars or not give themselves any buffer room/escape route when stopping behind another vehicle I cringe.

We can educate others drivers as much as we can but safety begins with us.

Having said that I agree - please look twice to save a life.

Shybiker said...

Preach, sister! I'm right there with ya.

RichardM said...

I like the cartoon at the end. Good topic and writeup.

Liz Jansen said...

Good info Darlene. Thanks for posting.