Here are some tips to drive safely around bikes, to help you know what to do when sharing the road with a motorcyclist:
1. Check your mirrors and blind spots
Make sure that you check your mirrors and blind spots before turning or changing lanes. Motorcycles can be difficult to spot due to their size and are often moving much faster than they appear to be – always double check for bikes when manoeuvring out on the road.
2. Don’t get too close
You wouldn’t tailgate another car, so don’t get too close to bikes either. Motorcyclists often have to react quickly to changes in the road and this can make them unpredictable, it’s always best to leave extra space just in case. Motorcycles offer little protection from a car in the event of an accident – so make sure that you give both of you enough time to react and stay safe.
3. Don’t forget to signal
Make sure that you signal when turning or changing lanes, to make other traffic (especially motorcycles) aware of your movements. This will allow them to stay a safe distance from you and avoid accidents.
4. Check, check and check again
I know we’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s so important that we’ve included it again. When pulling out at a junction make sure that you check multiple times that the road is clear. Check your blind spots again, and maybe even again just to be sure. As we’ve already mentioned, bikes can be moving much faster than they appear to be, so avoid pulling out in front of them.
5. Treat them as you would another car
Don’t be tempted to squeeze past or share a lane with a motorbike. They allow themselves enough space to make sure that they can react to changes in the road such as potholes, debris, car doors opening and many other unpredictable events that can cause much more damage to a bike than a car. Try to give them as much space as you would another car, especially when overtaking. Overtaking too close at high speed can knock a motorcyclist off balance and send them off the road, so take extra care when passing bikes.
6. Motorbike turn signals
Most motorbike indicators aren’t self-cancelling like in a car. This means that they won’t automatically turn off after a manoeuvre. This means that they might not always be planning to turn if they are indicating, so make sure that you don’t make assumptions that might put you both in danger.