May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a safety campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The campaign coincides with an increase in motorcycle traffic that occurs in the greater Rockford area each spring. The goal of the campaign is to help keep motorcyclists safe, whether they are riding to work at the Chrysler Assembly Plant in Belvidere or taking a scenic drive to Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve in Cherry Valley.
How Motorists Can Help
Motorists can do much to help keep bikers safe on the road. As such, the NHTSA offers the following tips for sharing the road safely with motorcyclists:
- Maintain a generous following distance behind a motorcycle. A three or four second following distance ensures that the biker has plenty of room to maneuver in a situation that requires him to stop quickly or get out of harm’s way. It also ensures that the following vehicle has plenty of room to stop and will not hit the bike from behind.
- Use your turn signal to communicate your intention to make a turn or change lanes.
- Check your mirrors and blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes. Many accidents occur at intersections when a motorist makes a left turn into a motorcycle.
- Do not try to share a lane with a motorcycle—bikers have the right to use the full width of their lane.
- Remember that turn signals on some bikes are not self-cancelling. Watch to make sure the motorcycle is really turning before you proceed.
- Never drive while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Practice distraction-free driving—do not talk on the phone, text, or eat while you drive.
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