Here are some ways to spread the message on motorcycle awareness amongst our friends and family members.
As motorcycle and scooter riders, we want motorists and other road user’s to take notice of us and share the road. However sometimes as people often do, they get caught up in their own world. So take it upon yourself and help spread the word on motorcycle awareness.
Have a casual talk with friends and family that don’t ride and answer their questions. Explain the dangers we riders experience every time we put our gear on and ride, teach them what to look for and how to react.
Explain to them that we take up less space than a car and therefore is often hard to see, so remind them to look twice before changing lanes, check their blind spots, and most importantly pay extreme attention when entering intersections.
A huge portion of motorcycle accidents occur due to a car or truck turning right in an intersection as a motorcycle is coming from the opposite direction. Typically these accidents occur because the driver didn’t see the motorcyclist or if they did see it was just too late.
There are many reasons for this, obstruction from other vehicles on the road, inappropriately judging of speed of the oncoming motorcycle, spotting an opening in oncoming traffic and assuming it’s safe to turn, or simply not deliberately looking out for smaller vehicles like motorcycles or scooters. Recommend your driving friends to pay extra attention at intersections and to scan the area beyond the oncoming vehicle immediately in front of them.
One of the best things you can do aside from talking is to actually take them for a ride on a motorcycle. Take them for a ride and make sure it’s a mix of surface streets and busy highway riding.
Ideally it would be great if you had a dual motorcycle helmet communication system so that you could communicate with them and point out where cautions are or common mistakes drivers make that can potentially cause harm to motorcyclists.
Giving them a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a small, exposed object traveling at speeds up to 110km/h amongst a sea of giants can be a real eye opener and help them assess their driving habits.
Remember, motorcycle awareness is a two way street – doesn’t only fall on the shoulders of motorists. As riders, we need to be proactive in helping others spot us on the road. You can do this by wearing bright coloured gear.
Black or dark coloured gear looks cool but it just helps you to blend in more easily with the surroundings-especially when riding at night or low light conditions. A simple neon vest, some fluorescent colouring on your gear, or some bright graphics on your motorcycle can and will help you be seen.
Actually, did you know that a case study filed in the British Medical Journal found that by simply wearing a white coloured helmet resulted in 24% lower risk of an accident as opposed to a black helmet? Of course night time riding definitely calls for some type of reflective striping or piping on your riding gear. Additional lighting on the bike like spot lights, passing lamps or driving lights can be extremely useful to be seen on the road in low light conditions.
Be respectful and courteous of others on the road. This also doesn’t mean you can’t ride defensively or offensively (however you might classify your riding style), it just means don’t ride unnecessarily close to other vehicles, don’t intentionally swipe at mirrors, pound on windows, or just ride like a jerk in general.
Remember you can split lanes here in Malaysia, just do it in a safe manner. In California where it is legal to split lanes, they have found splitting lanes in a safe manner is best by not travelling any faster than 10mph over the flow of traffic or at speeds above 30mph.
Other general riding tips include:
– Always assume the vehicle next to you or just ahead of you doesn’t see you, try stay out of its blind spots.
– Watch the driver’s head, this will often be the first indicator of what they are going to do next.
– Always be scanning your ‘out route’ just in-case if someone does something unexpected or an accident suddenly occurs.
Everyone has equal rights to the road, no one vehicle, driver or rider “owns” more of the road than another. However, that doesn’t mean that riders can’t easily get overlooked. So let’s all help do our part to help spread the word and encourage others to be more aware of motorcyclists.