AARP Driving Resource Center

Motorcycles — Sharing the Road Safely

What can you do to protect motorcyclists?

Motorcycles driving on a road, Driving Resource Center

Increase your following distance behind motorcyclists. — istockphoto

Many drivers are not aware of how to safely share roads with motorcycles. The vast majority of vehicle versus motorcycle crashes happen in intersections.

Before making a left turn, be sure traffic is clear, and then look again for motorcycles. A vehicle turning in front of motorcycles is the number one cause of fatal accidents for motorcyclists.

See also: What is a safe following distance on the road?

Because of road conditions, including potholes, dead animals and road debris, motorcyclists often need to weave from side to side within their lane. Give them as much room as possible.

Remember that motorcyclists have little personal protection other than helmets and the clothes they are wearing, so please help protect them.

Tips for Sharing the Road With Motorcycles

  • Motorcycles have use of the complete traffic lane. Do not share lanes with motorcycles.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist is the most frequent driver error in collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle.
  • Often drivers do not see motorcyclists until it is too late. This is why it is important for drivers to continually scan the roadway in front, to the rear and to the sides.
  • Motorcycles accelerate, turn and stop more quickly than other vehicles. Bad weather, rough road surface or inexperience may cause a motorcyclist to fall. All of these are reasons why you should increase your following distance to four seconds or more when behind motorcycles.

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