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Tips to safely share the road with motorcycles

Every day, there are crashes involving motorcyclists. The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that there were 519 motorcycle rider deaths across the state in 2014. Sharing the road is the responsibility of all drivers, but there are certain things other motorists can do to make traveling safer for those on two wheels.

First, drivers need to be aware of the presence of motorcyclists around them. Esurance.com teaches that stopping time is decreased in smaller vehicles, so drivers following a motorcycle need to leave at least four seconds between themselves and the rider in front of them to avoid fatal crashes. This is especially important if there are hazardous road conditions, such as bad weather or potholes. Disruptions in the pavement or slippery surfaces can be more difficult for motorcycle operators to navigate than passenger vehicles.

Next, drivers need to always remember to completely check their blind spots. Smaller vehicles can be harder to see when passing, so motorists need to always check completely before changing lanes. Signals should also be turned on earlier before a lane change to avoid causing a motorcyclist to swerve. Cars turning left also need to watch closely. In 2013, motorcycles were hit by cars turning left in 44 percent of fatal accidents involving those on two wheels.

Third, it is vital that drivers never become distracted, especially if there is a motorcyclist nearby. When motorists take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, they can miss what is happening around them. This is especially important when motorcycles are around since they are less likely to survive in a crash with a bigger vehicle.

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