It's spring and motorcycles are back on the road

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It's spring which means motorcycles, kids on scooters, roller bladers and cyclists are back on the roads. It also means that we as car drivers must step up our game and be vigilant in our shoulder checks when passing others, and when turning. I expect we'll see a lot more kids wheeling their way to school tomorrow when March break ends.

Motor cyclists prove to be a particular challenge on the roads. While the majority of car drivers and motor cyclists are responsible drivers and riders some simply aren’t. As a driver you need to remember that the bikes are smaller and harder to see on the roads. As a rider you need to remember that you can ‘appear out of nowhere’ to a driver.

We are seeing more and more riders adopting hi-vis clothing as part of their riding gear and it’s a good thing. It really increases the ability of others on the road to see them day and night. The accident yesterday involved a motorcycle on Hwy 85 and resulted in the closure of the highway for a period of time. The rider was transported to hospital in serious condition.

Tips for safe riding of your motorcycle:

  1. Take it easy on the first ride of the season. You haven’t been out for a while and car drivers haven’t seen you out for a while.
  2. Avoid the centre of the lane when traffic slows down. It gives you a quick exit if traffic grinds to a halt.
  3. Dress to be seen AND protected. Hi-vis vests and riding jackets, helmets, and clothes made of Kevlar are all useful personal protective clothing.
  4. Keep empty space all around you as you ride.
  5. Try to stay out of the space between a car and an off ramp. Too many car drivers suddenly realize they are about to miss their exit and don’t see riders on the road.
  6. Don’t ride like the yahoos we have all seen on the roads, speeding, and weaving in traffic.

Tips for car drivers:

  1. Treat a motorcycles like a car. Give them plenty of lane space.
  2. Never tailgate a motorcycle.
  3. Check and Double check all blind spots when changing lanes and going around corners.
  4. When motorcycles are merging into traffic give them plenty of space.
  5. If there is debris on the road be aware of the particular dangers a motor cyclist faces. Allow them plenty of room to manoeuvre in the lane, or to change lanes.

Remember that we are all responsible to drive safely on the roads, but in any motorcycle/car collision it’s the rider who loses.