May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and a good time to remind yourself that we all have to do our part to improve safety for motorcyclists. Check out these four things that any driver can do to make Seattle's roads safer for motorcyclists.
Look For Motorcycles
Because motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, they can easily get lost in our blind spots. Make sure you are checking your blind spots and rearview mirrors before changing lanes, turning left, and opening your car door into the street.
Remember that abrupt stops are more dangerous for motorcyclists, as they do not have seatbelts. A rider can easily be thrown from her bike if she must hit the brakes to avoid colliding with a turning vehicle.
Do Not Tailgate
Tailgating is a dangerous habit for any driver to form, regardless of what type of vehicle is around you. Make sure you leave enough space between your front end and a motorcyclist so that you can stop safely if the motorcyclist also has to stop suddenly.
Tailgating is especially dangerous in close-quarters traffic jams. Drivers' attention often drifts off when stuck in traffic, and when they notice traffic is moving slightly, they may accelerate too quickly before noticing a motorcycle in front.
Encourage Helmet Use
If you are a motorcyclist, remember that helmets reduce the fatal injury by 37 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, helmets also prevent around 67 percent of head injuries.
The RCW § 46.37.530 requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet unless the motorcycle is an antique. When wearing a helmet, it must be held securely in place by a neck or chin whenever the motorcycle is in motion. Always make sure your helmet fits. A loose helmet is not as effective in a crash.
If someone you know does not like to wear a helmet, encourage him to do so and show him a few reasons he should always wear it.
Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
One of the ways to get your motorcycle endorsement is by taking an approved motorcycle safety course. These courses teach the basic skills needed to be a safe and responsible rider. You can find a list of approved motorcycle training schools that offer these courses on Washington's State Department of Licensing website.
Two schools located in the greater Seattle area are WMST and Evergreen Motorcycle Training, which also serves the Kirkland area. These schools also offer intermediate and advanced riding courses and skill lessons to help experienced riders learn new safety maneuvers and keep their skills sharp.
When Everyone Drives Responsibly, We All Benefit
When motorcyclists and passenger vehicles alike follow the rules of the road, it makes Washington's streets safer for everyone. Likewise, both drivers and motorcycle riders need to take personal safety responsibility by wearing seatbelts and helmets, respectively.
However, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law, PLLC know that accidents do happen, even to experienced motorcycle riders. Contact Max to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your right to recovery after a motorcycle accident, 425-242-5595.