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Drivers need awareness of motorcycles

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 9:50 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – As the season starts to change to warmer weather, Morris Police Chief Brent Dite reminds local residents about the importance of traffic consciousness when it comes to the safe operation of motorcycles.

Motorcycles have become extremely popular due to their fuel efficiency along with the overall enjoyment riders receive by being involved in clubs and riding events, Dite said in a news release.

As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the streets. With that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of all vehicles need to be extra attentive and make sure you “share the road.”

A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.

Everyone needs to aggressively look for them, Dite said in the release.

It’s crucial that motorists and bicyclists always make visual checks for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. Pedestrians should also scan for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.

Here are some tips to drivers to keep motorcyclists safe on our roads:

Remember, the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other vehicle on the road. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width–never try to share a lane.

Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane and at intersections.

Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.

Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.

Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

Never drive while distracted.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.

Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet.

Using turn signals for every turn or lane change.

Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.

Never driving while impaired.

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