7/27/2017 8:00 AM | 2 Comments

With a beautiful New England summer in full swing and a warm fall predicted, we find ourselves entering peak road trip and motorcycle season. With more people on the road enjoying all that our region has to offer, it is important to remind yourself of safe driving tactics for motorcycle operators and other drivers sharing the road.

Motorcycles provide a great sense of freedom and enjoyment for their owners, but their impact on road safety can be a cause for concern. Even though the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 5,172 in 2017, a 3% decrease, motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities. At Eastern Insurance, we want to see everybody on the road arriving safely at their destinations. Below are a few ways that operators of both motorcycles and motor vehicles can safely share the road.

Road Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

  • Get properly licensed when first starting your motorcycle journey. Attend training and refresher courses frequently to keep your skills sharp. Click here to find a rider education program near you.  

  • Don’t underestimate the complexity involved with driving a motorcycle, even if you are a long time rider. A recent study done by Virginia Tec Transportation Institute found that nearly 55% of motorcycle accidents occurred when the driver was “negotiating a curve” on the road.

  • Always wear a helmet and other appropriate gear – in 2017, 62.5% of motorcycle riders admit to not complying to helmet laws. Also, wear reflective clothing if you are driving at night.

  • Do not drink alcohol or use drugs while operating a motorcycle. According to NHTSA, in 2017, 28% of motorcycle riders killer were under the influence of alcohol

  • Practice using the controls and gears while your bike is off and parked.

  • Follow posted speed limits.

  • Look out for hazards such as potholes, cracks, and bumps in the road.

  • Exercise extreme caution when you are carrying passengers.

  • Do not tailgate or weave between lanes if traffic is slow.

  • Abide by traffic laws, just as motorists are expected to do.

  • Always use turn signals to warn motorists of your intentions.

Road Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle, and most of the time, the car or truck driver is at fault. Always signal, check mirrors and check blind spots. Because of its narrow profile, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc.). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you're changing lanes or turning at intersections.

  • Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. Always assume that a motorcycle is closer than it appears.

  • Give motorcyclists the whole lane. You may think that because motorcycles are smaller and don't take up the entire lane that it's alright to pass them in the same lane. But that’s not the case. Give motorcyclists the full lane as you would another car.  

  • Treat motorcycle turn signals with caution. If you approach a motorcycle with an activated turn signal, wait for a moment to see what they'll do. Unlike cars, most motorcycle signals often aren't self-cancelling, so the driver has to remember to manually turn the signal off.

  • Give motorcycles extra following & passing distance. Many motorcyclists tend to slow down by rolling off the throttle or downshifting (instead of outright braking), so you may not see brake lights to alert you that they are stopping. Allow for 3 to 4 seconds of following time for motorcycles, and always assume that a bike will brake when approaching a stop at an intersection.

  • Avoid distracted driving. Keep your mind focused on the road and potentially rapidly changing surroundings. According to Vanderbilt, one study found that almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved drivers who were not paying attention to traffic for three seconds or less before the event.

There are many risks when riding your motorcycle or driving your vehicle near a motorcycle. At Eastern Insurance, we want to help you prevent these risks — and prepare for them. Learn more about our motorcycle insurance and auto insurance programs on our website, call us at (800) 333-7234, or email us at customerservice@easterninsurance.com. Enjoy the freedom of the open road with peace of mind today!


Got something to say? Join the discussion »
  1. Jack Titchener's avatar Jack Titchener
    I think looking out for potholes is pretty important when it comes to motorcycle safety. It can be pretty dangerous on the road, but with some good defensive driving, people can stay safe. I'll have to remember your tips if I ever decide to get a bike of my own!
    Reply 8/17/2017 7:18 AM
  2. Deb Pearl's avatar Deb Pearl
    My friend recently got a motorcycle and I would love to give them some tips to be safe on the road. I'm glad that you mentioned that you should always wear a helmet! It's rare you see people in the proper safety gear anymore. I also liked your idea of wearing reflective clothing at night. That will also be a good way to be safe at night. Thanks for all the tips!
    Reply 9/8/2017 5:28 AM

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