Think road safety no matter what vehicle you drive

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jennifer Barnard
  • 62nd Maintenance Squadron commander
Just as skiers and snowboarders move differently but share the same snow covered slopes, four-wheeled drivers and two-wheeled riders move differently but share the same roads. If you drive a car or a truck, have you ever tried to count the number of motorcyclists you see? It's one of those eye opening experiences when you consciously try. There are more than you think! I have noticed many more motorcycles and scooters on the roads as fuel prices have risen. 

Personally, I have a truck and a bike ('05 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe I call "Black Rose" due to her color). I don't ride the bike when I'm too tired or frustrated -- only when I'm in the right state of mind and when conditions are right. I strive to set a good example as someone who enjoys riding safely. 

How do we look out for each other to ensure we're all safe? 

Here are some suggestions:

· There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers do not "recognize" a motorcycle, especially when checking traffic at an intersection. 

· When a motorcyclist is in motion, do not think of it as a motorcycle, think of it as a person. 

· Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is or appear to be going faster than it is. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks. Take an extra moment to check blind spots or areas masked by objects or backgrounds (like the awesome trees around here). 

· Don't assume all motorcyclists are speed demons, especially cruisers. 

· Motorcyclists often adjust lane position to be seen more easily and to minimize effects of road debris, passing vehicles or wind. Often, they'll travel in the left third of the lane to see and be seen. 

· The stopping distance for a motorcycle is nearly the same as for cars, unless the roads are slippery. And the rainy season is approaching. 

· When many motorcycles travel together, they will usually ride in formation. This actually stems from the military and is a safer way to ride, when the group has discussed and shared their riding habits. The first bike will be in the right third of the lane with the next bike approximately two seconds behind and in the left third of the lane and so on. 

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