Watch Out for Motorcycles on Binghamton Roads
With the warmer weather, we will be seeing a lot more people on motorcycles running around, and I will be one of them, so it's a good time to remind motorists to pay attention.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation says that over of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don't "recognize" a motorcycle - they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car's blind spots or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). I ride a bike and there have been a few times bikes have suddenly jumped out in front of me! Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you're changing lanes or turning at intersections.
Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle's speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or rolling off the throttle, which means you may not see a brake light. (bikers, you should always tap your foot break a few times to let vehicles behind you know, that you are slowing down).
Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that we do this, not to show off or to look cool. Motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose!
Turn signals on a bike usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle's signal is for real.
Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle's better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don't expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can't always stop "on a dime." People who tailgate me while I am on my bike freak me out! Motorists, please stay back and enjoy the view!
There is a huge weight difference between a car or truck, and a motorcycle.One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. By design, an automobile has more weight and bulk than a motorcycle. If involved in an accident, the motorcycle and motorcyclist will lose every time.
Last year it seemed that every week we were hearing of a motorcyclist injured or killed in a crash, locally. Nationwide, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled doubled in 10 years and now account for over 4,500 highway deaths and 78,000 injuries each year.
There are over 6-million motorcyclists registered in the U-S, and with the increased effort to beat the high cost of fuel, more are joining our ranks every year. So we are asking that you be on alert. There are more of us out there and the life you save, may be mine!