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Motorcyclist Awareness Tips

Every day we read, hear or experience motorcycle accidents on our roads, and some riders survive and some don’t. The proverbial “Not if, but when” is a very real fact each one of us stare in the face when we swing our leg over, and head out on the road to face a jungle of other road users.

If you find yourself in the comfort of a motor vehicle, then this is for you. May you find these 10 Awareness Tips educational and game changer…


Awareness Tip #1

tip-1There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle; they ignore it (usually unintentionally).

Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.

Awareness Tip #2

tip-2Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed.

When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.

Awareness Tip #3

tip-3Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc.).

Take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.

Awareness Tip #4

tip-4Because of its small size, a motorcycle may seem to be moving faster than it really is.

Don’t assume all motorcyclists are speed demons.

Awareness Tip #5

tip-5Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds.

At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.

Awareness Tip #6

tip-6Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-cancelling, thus some riders, sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change.

Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.

Awareness Tip #7

tip-7Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind.

Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.

Awareness Tip #8

tip-8Manoeuvrability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.

Please give him some room, don’t drive in his safety buffer.

Awareness Tip #9

tip-9Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but a slippery road surface makes stopping quickly difficult.

Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”

Awareness Tip #10

tip-10When a motorcycle is in motion, don’t think of it as a motorcycle; think of it as a person.

Save a Life – Look for Motorcyclists!

Hein Jonker

Director & Chief Instructor of the Motorcycle Safety Institute of S.A., Media Technologist at Hein Jonker Media House.