NMA E-Newsletter #228: Welcome to Summer!

With the summer driving and riding season fast approaching, we wanted to pass on some information of interest to both motorists and bikers.

For bikers, June 17th is Ride to Work Day, and the event’s organizer, Ride to Work, expects it to be one of the largest yet. According to the group’s news release:

In the United States, over eighty million cars and light trucks are used for daily commuting, and only about 200,000 motorcycles and scooters are usually part of this mix. On Ride to Work Day a much higher number of America’s 8,000,000 cycles and scooters are ridden to work. Some estimates put the numbers of added riders at over 1,000,000.

Studies have shown that across equal distances, commuting rider can reach their destinations more quickly—in up to 20% less time than those using automobiles—and that motorcycles and scooters consume less resources per person per mile, and that they take up less space on roads.
Motorcycle and scooter riders seek improved employer support for this form of transportation, and more public and government awareness about the societally-positive benefits of riding.
The Ride to Work website includes forum areas, merchandise, information, and free promotional support materials.

The warmer weather also serves as a good reminder for everyone to look out for motorcycles on the roads. Here are a few safety tips:

  1. A motorcycle has the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.
  2. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Although it may seem that there is enough room in the traffic lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.
  3. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
  4. Because of their smaller size, motorcycles may look farther away than they really are. This may also make it difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or out of a driveway, realize that an oncoming motorcycle may be closer than it looks.
  5. Motorcycles can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots or masked by objects outside the vehicle. Before changing lanes or turning at intersections, take an extra minute to thoroughly check traffic around you.
  6. Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—motorcycle signals may not be self-canceling and motorcyclists sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  7. Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
  8. Allow more following distance—three or four seconds—when following a motorcycle so the motorcycle rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  9. Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, so you won’t see a brake light. At intersections, a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.

The NMA wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.

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