Police promote motor cycle safety for riders

  • Feb. 14, 2011 11:00 a.m.

“In 2009, motorcycles and mopeds represented 3.3 per cent of all registered vehicles in this province and yet we had a 13 per cent motorcycle-related fatality rate. Motorcycle riders are one of the most vulnerable road users in B.C.,” says Cpl. Jamie Chung of “E” Division Traffic Services, “We hope to educate both the riders and the drivers how to share the road safely.”

In a collision, motorcyclists are seven times more likely to be killed than other road users. Young drivers tend to be involved in more motorcycle-related crashes. However, there is an emerging trend that riders in their 40’s and 50’s are increasingly becoming the fatal victims of this type of crash.

Following are some safety tips for both motorcycle riders and vehicle drivers.

Safety tips for riders:

– Make yourself visible.

• Never assume other drivers see you.

• Wear bright and reflective protective gear.

• Make sure all your lights are working before every trip.

– Wear an approved helmet and protective gear.

• Choose a bright colored helmet that meets the recognized safety standards, such as DOT or Snell Memorial Foundation.

• Wear protective gear such as a motorcycle jacket, pants, gloves and boots. These provides better protection than street clothes.

– Improve your traction.

• Keep your tires properly inflated and in good working condition.

• Scan the road ahead for potential hazards.

• Avoid riding in the center of the lane – where oil and other fluids can gather.

– Communicate

• Read vehicle language. Never assume other drivers will always respect your right of way. They may not see you, or they may misjudge your distance and speed.

• Watch for other vehicle’s front wheel movements, signal lights, and other drivers shoulder checking when passing.

• Stay out of other driver’s blind spots.

– Intersection and signaling

• One of the most common types of intersection crashes occurs when oncoming vehicles turn left in front of motorcyclists. When you see oncoming traffic signaling to turn left, reduce your speed and adjust your lane position to avoid a potential collision.

• Signal well in advance when you change lanes or turn. Check your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of space behind so the vehicle behind can slow down for you safely.

– Slow down on curves.

• Many motorcycle crashes occur in curves and often involve the motorcyclist going off the road or across the center line.

• To avoid this, plan you trajectory prior to reaching the curve, and adjust your lane position and speed. Always look where you want to go.

– Training

• If you are a new rider or have not been riding for a long time, get professional riding training to learn/refresh the skills of handling a motorcycle, emergency braking, collision avoidance, lane position, etc.

Safety tips for drivers

– Always watch out for motorcyclists.

• Scan the road carefully for motorcycles when you are about to enter an intersection.

• Watch for oncoming motorcycles that may be turning left.

• Watch the rider for clues as motorcycles signals are hard to see.

• Don’t share a lane – never drive beside a motorcycle in the same lane.

– Communicate.

• Whenever possible, let the motorcycles know that you’ve seen them.

• Read the vehicle language. Don’t assume the motorcycle is turning left because it is in the left part of the lane.

– Following a motorcycle safely.

• Leave at least three seconds between you and the motorcycle in front of you, and longer when the weather/road conditions are less than ideal.

• Allow plenty of space when passing a motorcycle. Your vehicle may throw dirt or water in the rider’s face and pose a serious hazard to the rider.