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Saturday, July 12, is National Motorcycle Day. What better way to celebrate Wisconsin motorcyclists than by reviewing essential safety tips?
There are several precautions that motorcyclists can take when out on the road, including wearing a helmet, following traffic rules and riding defensively, but we as non-motorcyclists, can help make their job a little easier when traveling out and about. Read through these five ways to become a motorcycle advocate:
- Keep grass clippings off the road
Safety begins at home. When you are mowing your yard this summer, be sure your clippings stay off the road. Believe it or not, large clumps of grass can pose a dangerous threat to motorcyclists and is actually illegal in most Wisconsin municipalities. When grass clippings come between a motorcycle’s tires and the pavement; it can be extremely challenging for the driver to maintain control. Be a consider homeowner by keeping your grass off the road.
- Encourage passengers to speak up
According to safety advocate and motorcycling enthusiast, Darwin Stephenson, motorcyclists are most vulnerable when you’re not aware of your presence. When traveling with others, encourage your passengers to speak up when they see a motorcycle on the road. People in the back seat will likely have a different perspective from the driver, so a quick warning could be the difference between an accident and a safe trip.
- Keep the volume turned down
If you are traveling alone, you will have the sole responsibility in keeping motorcyclists safe. In addition to being aware of your surroundings, you may be able to acknowledge a motorcycle on the road by listening for the familiar purr of the engine. Remember to keep the volume of your stereo turned down to hear motorcycles before actually spotting them.
- Give some extra space
It can be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed and distance, especially if you’ve never driven one yourself. The general “following” rule of the thumb is to keep a distance of at least two seconds between you and the car ahead. Consider increasing that distance to three to four seconds when following a motorcycle.
The easiest way to estimate the distance from the car ahead of you is to conduct a simple test. Find a distinct object such as a road sign or tree and wait for the rear end of the vehicle ahead to pass. Then, count to yourself until you also pass the object. This method will help you determine whether or not you are following at a safe distance.
- Slow down when going through intersections
One of the most common places for collisions between cars and motorcycles occurs at intersections. Unfortunately, a driver may fail to notice the presence of an oncoming motorcycle. To account for the increased risk, exercise caution and slow down when driving through intersections.
As we gear up for the Annual Friendship 100 taking place on July 24, we hope you’ll consider these safety tips when you’re traveling this summer. Together, we can all help make Wisconsin roads a safer place for all types of vehicles.
Happy National Motorcycle Day from Lions Pride!