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Motorcycle awareness for other motorists

Because all kinds of vehicles share the road, motorcycles inevitably tend to become hidden in traffic. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, vehicle-motorcycle crashes comprise approximately 50 percent of all motorcycle wrecks. In many instances involving a vehicle-motorcycle crash, the driver of the motor vehicle said that they did not see the motorcycle in time to avoid a crash or at all. Motorists who are aware of the possible presence of motorcycles will likely double check blind spots before initiating any maneuvers.

There are several reasons why vehicle drivers have a tendency not to be mindful of motorcyclists. Motorcycles are much smaller than most other vehicles and usually have only one headlight. These unfavorable conditions make it problematic for car drivers to see motorcyclists or accurately judge their speed and distance.

The majority of vehicle-motorcycle collisions happen when the driver of a vehicle is in the process of making a left turn at an intersection. As the driver prepares to cross oncoming traffic lanes, an oncoming motorcyclist may easily blend in with other vehicles or be concealed behind a larger vehicle. Motorists must make a concerted effort to look twice for an approaching motorcycle before making a turn.

Traffic laws apply to drivers of passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and motorcycles, and drivers must yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists as they would to any other vehicle on the road. In Minnesota, operating vehicles in traffic side-by-side and in the same lane as motorcycles is illegal. If a driver causes a crash and injuries to a motorist by not following applicable traffic laws, the motorcyclist could consider filing a claim for financial damages in civil court.

Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety, "Safe Driving Tips for Motorists ", September 16, 2014

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Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, PA

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