The NMA was recently invited to present a seminar at Heartland STEAM, a motorcycling rights and safety conference consisting of the ABATE organizations from seven Midwestern states — Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
ABATE and the NMA are kindred spirits in that we are both membership-driven grassroots organizations working toward making our highways safer and traffic laws fairer.
Our presentation, well-received by the conference attendees, highlighted the NMA’s Motorist Bill of Rights and applicability of those rights to motorists and motorcyclists alike.
Those listening from a remote location to conference discussions about ongoing battles for properly determined speed limits, the elimination of photo enforcement, and the tracking of key legislative issues would have trouble discerning whether the speaker was with the NMA or with ABATE. (Hint: The NMA representative was the one not wearing leathers.)
Much of the Heartland STEAM conference agenda was designed to address motorcycle safety. Riders typically face a higher risk of serious injury from highway accidents than do motorists. Here are some actions that we as motorists can take to help make the roads safer for motorcyclists (and therefore, drivers):
Look twice before turning left
Most crashes between cars and motorcycles involve turning left at an intersection.
Double check blind spots
Motorcycles are easily hidden in traffic. Always take a second look over your shoulder; don’t rely solely on your mirrors.
Rain and sun glare can make a motorcycle invisible. Take an extra moment to make sure the way is clear.
Use turn signals
Indicate your next move through the use of turn signals. This allows riders to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position. Also, be aware that most motorcycle turn signals don’t cancel automatically. If you see a motorcycle coming with its turn signal flashing, wait for it to pass, particularly if you are planning to make a turn into its path.
Be vigilant around larger vehicles
Cars and trucks can conceal the presence of a motorcycle. Take an extra moment before turning left after a large vehicle passes you from the other direction.
Acknowledge eye contact
Motorcyclists make frequent eye contact to feel confident that the other drivers see them. Give them a nod back to let them know you are aware of their presence.
Be conscious of spacing
Riders prefer to use large cushions of space between vehicles and motorcycles. Don’t reduce safe following distances.