The cost of fuel and ever-increasing congestion is leading to more and more road users opting to ride motorcycles. To ensure everyone’s safety, all motorists must develop robust, systemic scanning approaches to their driving.
- BE AWARE: Motorcycles can be challenging for other motorists to see due to their size in comparison to cars, vans and trucks. Car drivers tend to look for other cars or larger vehicles when scanning. Also, motorcycles accelerate much more quickly and are far more manoeuvrable than other forms of transport, adding to the difficulty in spotting them.
- KEEP TRACK: Scan your mirrors constantly and check blind spots, especially if you intend to change lanes. When you do see a bike, ensure you know where it is as they are nimble and can reposition on the road faster than other vehicles, leading to “wow, where did that come from?” moments.
- BE ALERT: Be especially cautious looking for motorcycles at intersections, both on urban and rural roads.
- TAKE EXTRA CARE: Lane splitting or filtering is a motorcycle technique to overtake slow or stopped vehicles and is covered by the overtaking rules (Road User Rule 2004). Drivers need to take special care in situations where traffic is congested or in multi-lane environments, such as on the motorway, as this is where riders will perform lane splitting.
- LOOK TWICE: Drivers changing lanes must signal their intention to do so for at least three seconds. Scan your mirrors; look and then look again for bikes. Is it safe to proceed? If not, hold then scan and re-evaluate before making a move.
- MAKE ROOM: When being overtaken by a motorcycle, make the over-take as safe as possible for all concerned; don’t accelerate, brake hard or swerve. Maintain your road position and, if required, move your car left within your lane, creating a safety cushion. Scan the road ahead and anticipate when the rider will return to your lane; prepare a safe following distance early. That is at least two seconds’ space in good conditions and at least four in poor conditions when the weather is bad or the road surface is uneven.
October is Motorcycle Awareness Month.
Reported for our AA Directions Spring 2021 issue