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Safety Tips

Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes quick stopping difficult. Allow a motorcyclist more following distance because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”

Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, but only at slower speeds and with good road conditions. Don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.

Because of its small size, a motorcycle can easily be hidden by objects inside or outside of a car, such as door posts, mirrors, passengers, bushes, fences, bridges, blind spots, etc. Take an extra moment to thoroughly check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.

Motorcyclists often slow down 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, assume a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.

Turn signals on a motorcycle are usually not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Look for a motorcycle’s signal to see if it’s real.

Carrying a passenger complicates the motorcyclist’s task. Balance is more difficult, and stopping distance is increased. Maneuverability is reduced. Be aware of the possibility of more problems when you see two on a motorcycle, especially near intersections.

Because of its small size a motorcycle seems to be moving faster than it really is. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection, assume a motorcycle is closer than it looks.

Mirrors are smaller on a motorcycle and are usually convex, thus giving a motorcycle a smaller image of you and making you seem farther back than you really are. Keep at least a three or four second space cushion when following a motorcyclist.

Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of wind, road debris, and passing vehicles. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off.

There are a lot more cars and trucks on the road than motorcycles, and some drivers don’t recognize a motorcycle or ignore it (usually unintentionally). Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.

At night, single headlights and taillights of motorcycles can blend into the lights of other traffic. Those “odd” lights could be a motorcycle.

For more information regarding road safety, read our Share the Road Kentucky brochure.