Connecticut Department of Transportation Revs Up Motorcycle Safety Awareness, Reminds Motorists to Share the Road
As warmer weather arrives and more motorcycles make their way onto Connecticut’s roadways, the Connecticut Department of Transportation is urging drivers and motorcyclists to share the road and be alert. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are an estimated 28 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash.
In Connecticut, more than 50 motorcyclists lose their lives on our roadways each year. In 2020, there were 56 motorcycle fatalities.
- Always check your blind spots! Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and can be even more difficult to spot while merging or changing lanes. Take your time before merging and devote several seconds to searching each of your car’s blind spots before proceeding with your intended maneuver.
- Be extra cautious when passing. Make sure to signal your intention to pass a motorcyclist by using your turn signal. Always make sure you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcycle before returning to your lane.
- Remember that motorcycles react more quickly than cars. Make sure that you maintain an adequate following distance behind motorcycles. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal to the rider.
- Be Aware of Weather. Bad weather has more drastic effects on motorcycle riders than it does on automobile drivers. Also remember that weather conditions often reduce your own visibility and may cause motorcycles to be more difficult to see.
- Night-Riding: Help riders stay safe after dark by increasing your following distance, ensuring that your high-beams are turned off when you notice an approaching motorcycle, and refraining from passing. If you are driving with your high beams on, you must dim them at least 500 feet from any oncoming vehicle including a motorcycle.
- Stay in your Lane. Motorcycles are legally entitled to their own lane of traffic. In no situation are you allowed to drive your automobile in the same lane and in close proximity to a motorcycle. No matter how small these vehicles are or how much extra room that there appears to be, sharing a single lane with a motorcycle is a recipe for an accident and illegal.
- Inform motorcyclists of your intention to turn. Initiate your turn signal sooner than you normally would when you know there is a motorcycle driving behind you.
- Intersections are danger zones. Many vehicle accidents that involve both automobiles and motorcycles occur at intersections. Always follow the safety protocol for intersections every single time that you approach one: come to a complete halt, view and obey posted traffic signs and signals, look both ways for approaching traffic, and proceed slowly.
- Watch for turning motorcycles. Self-cancelling turn signals did not become standard on motorcycles until the late 1970s. There are still many motorcycles on the road today that do not have the self-cancelling turn signals that we are now accustomed to. If you notice that a motorcycle is driving with an activated turn signal for an abnormal distance, increase your following distance so that you have time to react whenever the rider does decide to turn.
- Take a second look at left-turns. Before you cross a lane or lanes of traffic to turn left, take a second look for approaching motorcycles. Vehicle accidents involving the collision of a left-turning car and an approaching motorcycle can be very severe.
Remember - when it comes to motorcycles, there's no such thing as a fender bender! For more information on Motorcycle Safety, visit: https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety.