May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month in Florida. For car, truck and SUV drivers in Tampa, it’s a much-needed reminder that riders depend on them to watch out and give bikes plenty of space on the road. Too many motorcycle accidents would not have happened if the driver involved had taken reasonable precautions.
As a refresher, here are five tips for driving safely around motorcycles, as provided by the Florida Highway Patrol.
- Don’t try to “share” the lane with a motorcycle. That rider is as entitled to the full width of the lane as if they were driving a car.
- Watch for motorcycles before attempting a lane change or turn or when entering an intersection.
- Give a motorcycle plenty of space when passing. If you pass just a few feet ahead of a bike and there’s a sudden gust of wind, the rider could lose control and crash into your rear.
- Don’t follow a bike too closely. Motorcycles can stop much more quickly than larger vehicles. You might not have time to brake if the motorcycle in front of you stops suddenly and you didn’t leave enough room.
- If a rider is attempting to pass you, let them in. Maintain your speed and lane position until the rider has entered your lane.
Experienced riders do what they can to protect themselves on surface streets and highways. But all it takes is one inattentive, careless or reckless driver to create a possibly disastrous collision. But the more seriously that drivers take the rules of the road, the fewer riders there will be with disabling injuries, not to mention grieving families.