It’s one of the biggest weekends in town. Where else do you have 200,000+ motorcycle riders gather? And have concerts featuring Bret Michaels, Blood Sweat & Tears, Blue Oyster Cult & Gallagher?
That’s right!! This weekend is once again time for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally.
And while the bikers like to descend into Austin, and the rest of us watch with amazement, it seems that every year is also accompanied by tragedy.
Let’s try and make this year different. Both bikers and motorists need to be aware of the increased traffic that will be around this weekend, and we all need to be careful.
As is almost a tradition, I’m again posting the Motorcycle Safety Foundations top ten things that drivers need to know about motorcycles:
1. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle; they ignore it (usually unintentionally). Look for motorcycles, especially when checking traffic at an intersection.
2. 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. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
3. Because of its small size, 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 thoroughly check traffic, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
4. Because of its small size a motorcycle may seem to be moving faster than it really is. Don’t assume all motorcyclists are speed demons.
5. Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
6. Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders, (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.
7. Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
8. Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
9. Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”
10. When a motorcycle is in motion, don’t think of it as motorcycle; think of it as a person.
Words aren’t often enough. The video below is powerful if you can get past the fact that it’s from Europe and they’re driving on the wrong side of the road.
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