What motorcyclists and drivers should know about sharing the road
Regular inspections, safety gear and blind spots
In addition to warmer weather and sunshine, motorcycle enthusiasts taking to the roads is just one more sure sign of spring for Islanders.
Scott Lundrigan is a retired police officer who rode a motorcycle on patrol and the co-ordinator for P.E.I. Crime Stoppers — he's also a self-proclaimed motorcycle enthusiast. Over the years, he says, he's seen too many collisions. Here are just some of the road safety tips he wants drivers of both motorcycles and cars to know about when on the road this spring.
1. Make sure your motorcycle is in good condition
One of the advantages to driving a motorcycle, Lundrigan says, is being able to move through traffic and being able to stop a little bit quicker than a car if needed — that is, if your motorcycle is in good working condition.
Being able to maneuver out of a dangerous situation, Lundrigan says, is important for bikers but having your tires, brakes and steering inspected regularly is key to being able to come to a quick and safe stop if necessary.
2. Goggles and safety equipment
Nearly everyone knows to wear a helmet, Lundrigan says, but some forget the importance of being equipped with proper protective goggles and footwear.
"Sometimes I see people that have windshields but they're not wearing eyewear," he said. "A bug or anything that comes over that screen and happens to hit you in the eye could distract you enough that you can end up in a collision."
Lundrigan said there have been occasions where he's spotted bikers on the road wearing little more than flip flops or sneakers. Not wearing the proper footwear, he says, puts the rider at significant risk of injury — especially if a situation arises where the biker has to put their feet down in a hurry.
He adds that wearing heavier, thicker pants could be a biker's saving grace in an accident.
"They can reduce a great deal of injury by having your exposed portion — that's like your legs and your arms — covered with some sort of material," he said.
3. Stay close to the centre line
It's difficult for oncoming traffic to spot bikers tucked behind larger vehicles. Riding close to the centre yellow line on roads allows other drivers to see bikers with more ease and in turn, helps bikers spot oncoming traffic, Lundrigan said.
4. Mind your blind spots
"The primary cause for collisions involved between motorcycles and cars is that the operators of the motor vehicles sometimes just don't see the bike — and that's why you'll see ... these stickers around that say, 'look twice, save a life," Lundrigan said.
Motorcycles are often much smaller than cars and therefore can be difficult to spot. Lundrigan said making sure you are taking the time to glance right and left at your blind spots and making complete stops at lights and stop signs are imperative to preventing collisions.
5. Following too closely
At one time or another, Lundrigan says, we've all been guilty of becoming impatient and following behind another vehicle too closely. But not giving a motorcycle enough space can be a recipe for disaster, he said.
Motorcycles are able to come to a stop more quickly than most other vehicles, Lundrigan said.
Giving motorcycles enough room can prevent drivers in cars from colliding with motorcycles which have come to quick or sudden stops. Even a small bump into the back of a motorcycle can cause damage or injury.
Special traffic checks will be conducted throughout May by police on the Island to ensure drivers of both motorcycles and cars are staying safe.