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Tips for sharing the roads with motorcyclists this spring

Believe it or not, but motorcycle season is right around the corner. In states like Connecticut where most riders put their bikes in storage for the winter, it's important for drivers to prepare to share the roadways with motorcyclists once again this spring.

First and foremost, it's important for automobile drivers to remember that motorcyclists have every right to be on the roadways, just like bicyclists and pedestrians. Because motorcyclists are the minority on the roadways, they should be treated with even more respect.

Consider these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a reminder for safely sharing the roads with motorcyclists:

  • Give motorcyclists the full lane width, just like other cars. Although they are much smaller than most cars and trucks, they still need the full lane to maneuver safely.
  • Double-check for motorcycles, especially when making left turns. Close to 40 percent of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle.
  • Always use your turn signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic to let motorcyclists find a safe lane position and prepare for a change in traffic flow.
  • Know that motorcycles are difficult to see. Because of their small size, it can be difficult to spot motorcycles and judge how fast they are going.
  • Make sure to check blind spots and mirrors for motorcyclists before changing lanes or at intersections because they can easily be missed.
  • If you see a motorcyclist with a turn signal on, don't necessarily believe the motorcyclist is turning. Since most turn signals on motorcycles are not self-cancelling, they are often left on by mistake.
  • Remember to always give more distance when following motorcycles than cars. Three or four seconds of space gives you adequate space to stop since motorcycles can stop faster than other vehicles. 

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