As Spring begins and we trade ice and snow for sun and warmth, expect to see traffic patterns change as well. As the temperature rises, more and more motorists will choose to bike or ride their motorcycle to their destinations. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Cars & Trucks
Crashes between cars and motorcycles usually end much worse for the motorcyclist. The simple truth is that most motorists are not expecting to see a motorcycle on the road in the same way they are expecting other cars, and therefore fail to perceive the motorcycle even when it’s there to be seen. Motorcycles perform differently than passenger vehicles, so allow for more following distance and give motorcycles plenty of space when turning. When you encounter a bicycle on the road, remember that they have the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. If you must pass a bicyclist, Michigan law requires the motorist to give at least three feet of space to the left of the bicycle.
Helmets are not required for most motorcyclists in Michigan, but they seem to be a good idea to reduce the risk of injury or death. It’s also a smart move to wear bright or high-visibility clothing so motorists will be more likely to see you. Make sure your motorcycle is in good working order, especially if it has been sitting all winter. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered as you begin a new riding season.
Bicyclists traveling on the roadway have all the rights of a motorist. They also have the same responsibilities. That means obeying traffic signals, yielding when turning or changing lanes, signaling turns, and keeping to the right-hand side of the road (except on one-way roads or while turning from a left-hand or center turn lane). Wear a helmet to protect yourself and make sure all safety equipment on the bicycle is in working order, including brakes, reflectors, and lights. Avoid distractions just like you would if you were driving a car.
These basic tips are not meant to be an exhaustive list, just a starting point for safety as more bikes and motorcycles take to the road. Enjoy this great weather and be safe on the road.