May 2, 2011

Motorcycle Awareness – News for you from the Iowa D.O.T.

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Davenport, Iowa
Iowa Department of Transportation

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, and with the return of warmer weather and dry pavement motorcycle riders are taking to the streets and highways. Operating a motorcycle safely in traffic requires special skills and knowledge. Increasing your awareness of the safety and risks of motorcycles has the potential to reduce crashes and keep motorcyclists safe.

The following are a few tips for sharing the road with motorcycles:

• Look for motorcycles. Watch out at intersections and when making left turns. Check blind spots frequently and before changing lanes. Always use your turn signals. Motorcycles are everywhere…look twice and save a life.
• Respect the motorcyclist. Motorcycles are vehicles with the SAME PRIVILEGE as any vehicle on the roadway. Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
• Allow plenty of space. Traffic, wind, weather and road conditions affect the motorcyclist differently. Leave more following distance, allowing room for the motorcyclist to maneuver and enough time for you to react.
• Sharpen your driving skills. Check your knowledge and habits. Take time to read the Iowa Driver’s Manual each time you renew your license. A driver refresher course can upgrade your skills and increase your driving enjoyment.
• Be courteous and respectful. Being courteous, non-aggressive and cooperative can go a long way in reducing crashes.

Motorcycle fatalities in Iowa have increased significantly, nearly doubling in five years while other vehicle fatalities have declined. More than half are caused by other vehicles, usually who do not see the motorcyclist.

By staying alert and following the above tips motorists and skilled motorcyclists may save lives while sharing the roadway.