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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

As the weather warms up, all of my motorcycle and scooter-riding friends are dusting off their wheels and enjoying the open road. With more motorcycles on the road this time of year - and with motorcycle fatalities on the rise - now seems the ideal time for a refresher on motorcycle awareness and safety. 

That's why The Ontario Road Riders Association has joined forces with various other law enforcement and safety organizations in Canada to declare May 2014 Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Photo: ORRA

As these riders can attest, drivers aren't always as alert as they could be where motorcyclists are concerned, often with tragic results:

Here are several Ontario Road Riders Association tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on the road:

  • Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.

  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.

  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.

  • Remember that road conditions which are minor annoyances to other vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists.

  • Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

Naturally, safety is a two-way street; motorcyclists need to follow the rules of the road, wear appropriate protective gear and being alert to other drivers.

For more about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, visit www.orra.on.ca

Do you ride? Any safety tips to share with other motorcyclists or drivers? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.

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