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5 Tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists

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There are more than 227,000 motorcycle registrations in the state of Washington. Despite this high number, many motorists know little about ways to safely share the road with motorcyclists.

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles make up four percent of all registered vehicles in the state, but account for 17 percent of traffic fatalities.

All motorists have a responsibility to drive safely and obey traffic laws, but what steps can drivers take behind the wheel to help reduce the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities?

Here are 5 keep in mind when sharing the road with motorcycles:

  • Check blind spots: Motorcycles can be easily missed when a motorist does not check mirrors and blind spots.
  • Always signal: Motorists should always signal turns and lane changes. This is especially important when sharing the road with motorcyclists, who may otherwise have to react quickly (and dangerously) when a car turns or changes lanes without signaling.
  • Allow plenty of follow distance: When following a motorcycle, allow three to four seconds of following distance. This will allow motorcyclists adequate time to change lanes or stop in case of an emergency.
  • Stop distracted driving: Texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors should be avoided by all motorists. When a driver's attention is not on the road, he or she can easily miss a motorcyclist's presence.
  • Understand motorcyclists' rights: Motorcycles are not inferior vehicles. They follow the same traffic laws and are entitled to a full lane. Always keep in mind that motorcyclists have the same rights as any other motorist.

Paying attention and respecting other motorists on the road - including motorcyclists - can go a long way in keeping our roadways safe for all drivers.

What are your tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists? Share your best advice in the comments.

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