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Preventing motorcycle accidents is everyone's responsibility

Motorcyclists on California roads know the risks associated with this mode of transportation. Accidents involving the two or three-wheeled vehicles are often some of the most injurious or deadly crashes on the roads in any given year.

To decrease the chances of these catastrophic consequences, it is up to every driver and rider to take added safety precautions. Every rider, driver, passenger and pedestrian can contribute to roadway safety and consider the impact of their actions -- or inactions. No matter the vehicle you drive, every person on the road can take steps to lessen the likelihood of major collisions involving motorcycles.

The role of drivers

Other vehicles are some of the most dangerous factors for motorcyclists in California. A collision involving a motorcycle most frequently involves another vehicle and is often attributable to a driver's mistake, not the motorcyclist. Riders need to take their own safety precautions when choosing this mode of transportation, but drivers of motor vehicles can make a major difference with a few adjusted behaviors.

As you're driving near these smaller vehicles, consider some safety tips:

  • Leave enough room between your vehicle and a motorcycle when following behind this vehicle to prevent rear-end collisions. About four seconds of space is the minimum distance to leave in case of an abrupt stop.
  • Motorcycles get the entire width of a lane, the same as a bigger vehicle. Don't crowd in next to a motorcycle in a lane width or force the rider to split lanes.
  • Always use a turn signal and let it run for a few seconds before making moves across lanes of traffic. The signal allows others to see your intended movement and adjust accordingly if need be.
  • Take another look in blind spots and all surroundings before changing lanes or turning left across traffic. One look is often insufficient to spot smaller vehicles or potentially pedestrians in the road.

The role of rider safety

Motorcyclists themselves also know to take safety precautions when riding in the often heavy Oakland traffic. Riders consider the weather, road conditions, bike maintenance and the necessary safety gear as they ride, but additional training can help keep skills and knowledge fresh over the years of riding.

Motorcyclists and their passengers should keep in mind the role other vehicles play in the safety on the roads. While it may be ideal to think that other travelers will take the time and effort to watch for motorcyclists, it is often on riders themselves to remain alert and aware. Every person on the roads can contribute to safety, so consider your role in maintaining safe travels.

Accidents involving motorcycles can have life-changing and devastating effects. Taking safety precautions can help mitigate the chances of major injury or death from a motorcycle accident. Those injured by another driver's error should know they can seek assistance after an accident.

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