Sharing the Road: A Guide for New Motorcycle Riders

Sharing the Road: A Guide for New Motorcycle Riders

“Look Twice, Save a Life”

Welcome to the world of motorcycling! Before we dive in, remember the mantra, “Look twice, save a life.” Now let’s talk about how riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car and how we can stay safe on the road.

Motorcycles vs. Cars: The Seven Big Differences

When you hop on a motorcycle, you’re not just in another type of vehicle; you’re in a whole different world. Here are seven ways motorcycles are different from cars:

  1. Motorcycles are way lighter.
  2. They’re smaller.
  3. You don’t have a metal shell protecting you.
  4. You’re out in the open, feeling the wind and weather.
  5. You can’t carry a bunch of friends.
  6. Balance is super important.
  7. Brakes work differently.

Riding in Lanes: Choose Your Spot

Graphic demonstrating Lane apportionment for motorcycle riders

When you’re riding your motorcycle, you’ve got three choices for where to ride in a lane: the center, the left, or the right. Each spot has its good and bad points:

  • Left third: You’ll be more visible to cars coming towards you or from the left, and it’s a good spot if you’re planning to turn left.
  • Right third: You’re visible to traffic from the right and for cars coming towards you if you’re preparing to turn right.
  • Center third: If there are cars coming from both sides and ahead, this spot can make you more visible.

But if it’s rained recently, avoid the center because oil from cars can make it slippery.

Blind Spots: Seeing and Being Seen

Where you ride in the lane affects how well cars can see you. Each position creates or reduces blind spots for cars. That’s why we say, “Look twice, save a life.” It reminds us to check our blind spots for motorcycles.

Brakes and Distance: Why You Need More SpaceGraphic with the text Less than 3 seconds is too close.

Motorcycles and cars brake differently and that affects how quickly you can stop. Because motorcycles only have two wheels, they only have two small contact points with the road (instead of a car’s four larger ones), so they need more distance to stop. That’s why it’s best to keep a good distance from the car in front.

The Three-Second RuleImage illustrating stationary points for counting the 3-second rule for following in traffic

How do you know if you’re far enough back? Use the three-second rule. Pick a “stationary point” on the road and count how long it takes you to reach it after the car in front passes it. If it’s less than three seconds, you’re too close.

Distracted Driving: Why Texting Can Wait

We all know it’s bad, but let’s go over why texting and driving is such a no-no.

Think about it this way: At 35 mph, you’re moving 51 feet every second. If you look down and text for three seconds, that’s like closing your eyes and riding blind for half a football field.

That’s not cool, it’s scary… and could be deadly.

Right-of-Way Mistakes

A lot of crashes between cars and motorcycles happen because a car driver didn’t see a motorcycle and turned right in front of it. We call that a right-of-way violation, and it causes three out of every four car-motorcycle crashes.

How to Avoid Crashes: Five Key Steps

To help keep everyone safe, here are five things you can do:

  1. Always keep an eye out for other motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians.
  2. Look twice before turning or moving into a new lane.
  3. Make sure you’ve judged the speed of the traffic around you before you make your move.
  4. Always check your blind spots.
  5. Use your turn signals, and let them blink at least four times before you move.

Remember, “Look twice, save a life.” Be safe out there and enjoy the ride!

Embrace the Ride, Safely

As you embark on your journey as a new motorcycle rider, keep these tips close to your heart. They’re not just rules or guidelines; they are the foundations of a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Remember, the joy of motorcycling comes with responsibility—not just for yourself, but for everyone sharing the road with you.

Being mindful of the key differences between motorcycles and cars, understanding lane positioning, respecting other road users, and knowing how to avoid common causes of accidents are fundamental steps toward becoming a skilled and confident motorcyclist. But it doesn’t stop there; continue to learn, gain experience, and educate yourself.

The mantra, “Look twice, save a life,” is a powerful reminder that every moment on the road matters. Every decision, every signal, and every glance can make the difference between a safe ride and a dangerous situation. As a new rider, you have the opportunity to be part of a positive change on our roads.

So, let’s get out there, embrace the freedom and excitement of riding a motorcycle, but above all else, let’s ride safely. Welcome to the world of motorcycling!

If you or someone you know has been injured, contact The Biker Lawyers today for a free consultation.