Insider Safety Tips from a Local Motorcycle Expert
The feeling one gets when riding a motorcycle, with the wind in your face and your hand on the throttle, has been described as two wheeled therapy-for many, it is simply freedom.
The thrill of the ride, once in your blood, can become one of life’s passions.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month seeks to do all we can to make the roads safe for motorcyclists, and to urge everyone to share the road and be alert.
In the spirit of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we sought out the advice of a local expert-motorcycle instructor and enthusiast Mike Reeder. Mike is a certified motorcycle safety instructor and the director of the motorcycle safety course conducted at North Central State College.
We asked Mike to share tips learned from his more than 100,000 miles on the road.
Assume that Other Drivers Don’t See You
Mike says that the number one most important tip is to assume that the driver of the car that is waiting to pull out from a stop sign, or from a driveway or parking lot, does not see you. Most crashes happen when a car pulls out or turns in front of a motorcycle that is in plain view. Even when it seems like the stopped driver in the car is looking right at you, you can’t assume that the driver sees you. The story told over and over by riders that have been in a crash is, “I saw the driver looking right at me, and then he just pulled out.”
Mike’s tip is for the rider is to look at the front tire of the car and be prepared to take evasive action the second that tire starts to move.
Watch out for Distracted Drivers
Mike’s second most important tip is to beware of drivers who are looking at their phones. If the rider sees a driver on her phone, the rider should anticipate that that driver will change lanes or cross the centerline and endanger the rider’s safety. When a rider sees another driver on the phone, slow down or take an alternate route that steers clear of the distracted driver. Mike says that he has experienced more close calls in the last 5 years then he did in all his previous 30 years of riding. The cause is the use of cell phones.
Respect Your Mother-Mother Nature, that is.
Mike’s final tip is to respect your mother. Mother Nature, that is. Four wheelers jump in their vehicles without a thought about the weather. Not true for the motorcycle rider. Wind can make control of your bike difficult for even the most experienced rider. Sure, rain is going to make riding difficult, but getting on the road with the sun out after a downpour can be hazardous after a dry spell because of oil that coats the road making conditions slippery.
A Message to All: Share the Road;
All riders have experienced situations where drivers of cars behave as if they don’t think motorcycles have the right to be on the roads. The law says that motorcycles have the same rights and responsibilities as every other vehicle sharing the road.
Mike’s advice to drivers of cars is to conduct themselves as if the motorcycle they are driving behind is being ridden by their son, daughter or loved one. Please let’s all drive with respect for the rider and his or her right to share the road!