Motorcyclists face more inherent risks on the roadway than drivers in other types of vehicles. Motorcycle riders simply do not have the same types of protections that those inside traditional passenger vehicles have. Perhaps one of the most dangerous things a motorcyclist does on a regular basis is change lanes. Here, we want to discuss ways to increase lane change safety for motorcycle riders.
A key aspect of ensuring motorcycle safety is properly positioning the motorcycle in traffic. This means that you should make yourself as visible as possible by staying out of other vehicle’s blind spots and creating an area of space around your motorcycle that is just for you. This will give you the time and space you need to react to unexpected movements in traffic around you.
This is important preparation for changing lanes as well. Instead of riding side-by-side with other motorcyclists, it is recommended that you operate in a straight line with other motorcyclists either in front of you or behind you and only riding side-by-side when you stop at traffic lights or signs.
As you are preparing for your lane change, there are various steps that you need to take to ensure safety. You need to be very aware of the blind spots of other vehicles. If you are inside of another driver’s blind spot, a lane change could result in disaster. Try to get in front of or behind other vehicles on the roadway before making your lane change.
You should also ensure that you maintain a safe distance away from other vehicles. This includes not changing lanes too closely to the rear of another vehicle or too closely to the front of another vehicle. If you change lanes and end up right behind another vehicle and that vehicle has to stop suddenly, you could end up rear-ending them. If you change lanes too closely in front of another vehicle and you have to stop suddenly, it is unlikely that the other vehicle will be able to slow down before they rear-end you.
Motorcycle riders in the state of Colorado do not have to wear helmets if they are over the age of 18. Even though helmets are not required by law for most motorcycle riders, it is strongly encouraged that they are worn anyway. Helmets have proven time and time again to help reduce the risk of sustaining a severe brain injury or fatality in the event of a motorcycle crash occurs.
Data from the Colorado Department of Transportation shows that there were 137 motorcycles fatalities on our roadways during the latest reporting year. Motorcycles represented just three percent of all vehicles on the roadways of Colorado in 2020, but they were responsible for 22% of all traffic fatalities that year.
Even if you do everything right when you are changing lanes on your motorcycle, you cannot guarantee that another driver will be as attentive as you. Part of motorcyclist protection is ensuring that you take the steps necessary to remain safe even if others do not take these same steps. Wearing a helmet and other types of protective gear are a way for you to ensure that you remain safe in the event the worst occurs.