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How can motorists prevent motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle unawareness is a serious issue, especially in Fullerton where motorcyclists can take to the streets year-round. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents do occur, often due to inattention on the part of another driver. What's even worse is that a motorcycle accident can be so severe as to cause the motorcyclist's death. The following are some tips motorists can follow to avoid motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycles have a narrow profile. This means that a motorist may not see them if the motorcyclist is in the motorist's blind spots or is masked by another object, such as a fence or a bush. Therefore, motorists must take an extra few seconds to double check to make sure that there are no motorcyclists in their vicinity before switching lanes on the road or making a turn.

In addition, it can be difficult to judge how fast a motorcycle is going. Motorcycles often seem like they are farther away than they actually are, due to their small size. Motorists need to keep this in mind when making a turn. They should predict that the motorcyclist is nearer to them than what they may seem.

Depending on how the motorcyclist is slowing down, such as by rolling off the throttle or downshifting, this may not always activate the motorcycle's brake light. In addition, a motorcycle's turn signals, in general, do not automatically shut off after making a turn. This means that there may not be a visual indicator as to whether the motorcyclist is slowing down or making a turn.

Sometimes a motorcyclist needs to switch lanes in order to avoid road debris or wind. Motorists need to keep in mind that motorcyclists may need to take such actions for their own safety and, therefore, they should not drive recklessly around them. Similarly, motorcyclists cannot always "stop on a dime," especially if the road is slick.

Motorcyclists have every right to share the road as other motorists do. It is important for motorists to be educated on motorcycle awareness, so that they learn more about how these vehicles operate and so they learn how to safely drive to avoid an accident.

Source: msf-usa.org, "QUICK TIPS: Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles," accessed Sept. 19, 2016

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