Most people, and especially bikers themselves, can see how vulnerable motorcyclists are to suffering severe injuries in an accident.
Even if they are wearing proper safety equipment, a motorcyclist has very little protection from the blow of a much larger, and heavier, full-sized vehicle.
They also face additional danger. Even a near-miss accident or an object flying off of a truck or other vehicle can cause a motorcyclist to roll their bike or to fall.
This is why it is so important for other drivers to practice motorcycle awareness.
At a minimum, motorcycle awareness means North Carolina drivers should follow traffic laws, drive cautiously and make sure that they are paying attention.
Even a second of scrolling on one’s phone or engaging in another distraction can cause a serious motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle awareness requires an additional level of care
However, with respect to motorcycles, just being a generally careful driver might not be enough.
Motorists need to understand how motorcycles work differently than cars.
Because of their size, it is easier for a motorcyclist to travel in a car’s blind spots. Frequently, a motorcyclist will be forced to do so because of traffic conditions. Before changing lanes or turning, drivers need to check their blind spots well.
Motorcyclists also tend not to use their brakes, as doing so could cause them to roll. They instead will shift to a lower gear. This means that a driver following a motorcycle will not see a brake light, but the motorcycle will slow down quickly.
This is one reason why maintaining a safe and conservative following distance behind a motorcycle is critical.
Finally, motorcyclists are not only hard to see but also difficult to judge, especially at intersections. A motorcycle could be approaching much more quickly than it would seem. Drivers should generally wait at an intersection if they see an oncoming motorcycle.
If drivers are not aware of a motorcyclist and cause an injury accident, the victims may have the legal option to pursue compensation.