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May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Sunset over an open road and a man with a helmet riding a chopper motorbike

Sure, if you’re a motorcycle rider, every month is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. But May is the month set aside by the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to raise awareness about motorcycle safety for the drivers of cars and trucks who share the road with motorcycles. When careless, negligent, or reckless drivers cause motorcycle crashes, they can and should be held responsible for the injuries and other damages they cause. But the best offense is a good defense, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As the weather warms and more riders start taking to the roads and highways in the Bay Area, we join the campaign for motorcycle safety awareness by recounting some of the Traffic Safety Marketing resources offered by NHTSA. Share this post with your four-wheeled friends, and if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact William E. Weiss, Attorney at Law, to speak with a dedicated and experienced California motorcycle accident injury lawyer.

Space Distance

Drivers are encouraged to “Give ‘Em Space” and avoid following motorcycles too closely from behind. NHTSA reminds drivers that motorcycles stop quickly, and providing at least one vehicle’s worth of space can help avoid a sudden crash. Read-end collisions are often thought of as minor, but a rider who gets rear-ended by a car or truck can get seriously hurt.


A whopping 42% of fatal motorcycle crashes happen at intersections, often because drivers don’t see the motorcycles. One example is when a driver is waiting to turn left until after an oncoming car or truck has cleared the intersection, not realizing a motorcycle is following behind that larger vehicle. Even when drivers do see the motorcycle in their path, they frequently misjudge its speed and distance due to its smaller size. Drivers are encouraged to look twice before they turn and be mindful of the fact that they share the road with motorcycles.

Keep an Eye

Motorcycles blend in with their surroundings. They are smaller and less frequent on the road than other vehicles, giving rise to inattentional blindness. Drivers are urged to keep an eye out for motorcycles during the day and their reflective gear at night.

Obstructed Views

Any driver knows that intersections with obstructed views are dangerous, but the problem is magnified for riders of motorcycles which are more likely to be obstructed by foliage, parked cars or other obstructions. If something is blocking your clear view of the road ahead or cross-traffic, be mindful of the fact that a motorcycle could be hidden behind that obstruction.

Hard to See

Because of its small size, it’s hard to judge the distance of an oncoming motorcycle. When stopped at an intersection and a motorcycle is coming from the other direction, the safe and prudent choice is to wait for the motorcycle to pass before entering the intersection to cross or turn and risk a deadly crash.

Adjust Mirrors

It might sometimes seem like motorcycles just appear out of thin air, but of course that’s not possible. More likely is that the driver’s rearview and side mirrors were not properly adjusted so they could see motorcycles coming. If properly adjusted, you should just be able to see only a sliver of the side of your own vehicle, which gives you maximum exposure to see motorcycles coming up from behind in another lane.

Weaving Explained

They aren’t just goofing around, NHTSA explains. Motorcyclists weave on purpose so that they are easier to see. What may seem like reckless driving is actually a commonsense safety measure. Recognizing this fact helps drivers respond appropriately and respect riders for taking their safety into their own hands.

Contact William E. Weiss for Help After a Motorcycle Accident in California

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in the San Francisco Bay Area or beyond, call William E. Weiss, Attorney at Law, at 415-362-6765, ext. 157, or preferably via cell phone at 415-235-7060 for a free consultation to discuss your claims. You can also email william.weiss@gmail.com. Otherwise, enjoy your ride and stay safe this May and all year long.

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