Ah, the sounds of spring: birds singing… and engines revving.
There is nothing like that feeling of hitting the open road in the springtime. Windows down and music playing, it’s a good time to be driving. I live on a main street, and at this time of year certain car owners gleefully make their presence known. After a long winter of being bundled up, and careful driving through wintery conditions, the temptation to “let her rip'' is hard to resist.
For Canadian motorcyclists, spring has a whole other significance. It’s when many of them get their bikes back out on the road. I can only imagine how exhilarating that first ride of the season must be. For the rest of us motorists, it can be a bit of a surprise after not seeing them for months, and suddenly a motorcycle appears in our side or rear view mirror (is that a car with a burnt out headlight behind me?). It’s fitting then, that May is Motorcycle Safety Month in Canada and the US.
Once again, this year’s campaign by the Motorcycle Confederation of Canada is to Watch Out for Each Other, encouraging motorists to be on the look out for motorcyclists, and motorcyclists to return the favour. That way, we can all stay safe! For motorists looking to do our part, here’s some tips to consider:
- Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists, and be sure to signal before changing lanes.
- Motorcyclists are entitled to a full lane, just like any other vehicle. Don’t crowd them or try to share a lane with them on the road or at intersections.
- Motorcycles often aren’t equipped with self-cancelling turn signals, and riders sometimes forget to turn them off, so make sure that bike is actually turning before you make a move.
- Allow more follow distance when behind a motorcycle, to allow more time and space to react in the case of an emergency stop (for both of you!)
And for our motorcyclist friends:
- Suit up with your helmet and protective gear before you head out.
- Drive according to your ability, weather conditions, the speed limit, and the rules of the road.
- If you do have to pull over, ensure you know how to conduct a roadside stop safely.
So let’s watch out for each other! With a little extra care we can make sure we’re all enjoying being on the road this season, and all year long.
Wishing motorcyclists and motorists across the country a happy spring and safe driving!
~ Paul D.