Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month doesn't start until May, but the season has arrived for many riders happy to see an end to winter weather. The majority of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles are caused by the non-rider. While rider training and safety efforts including mandatory helmet laws can make a difference, the real key to reducing motorcycle accidents is awareness from other drivers. If you are on the road, you need to be aware of all other vehicles, including the two-wheeled variety.
Motorcycles have all the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on New Jersey roads. Calls for motorists to "share the road" aren't a request. Many people hold a bias against motorcycle riders or consider motorcycling an inherently dangerous activity. That does not give the driver of a passenger vehicle the right to endanger motorcyclists by driving drunk, driving while texting, driving while fatigued or just driving carelessly. Motorcyclists are just as interested in arriving home safe as anyone else on the road.
If you change lanes without signaling and sideswipe a pickup truck, the occupants of the truck might suffer nothing worse than a scare. If you hit a motorcycle, the odds are high that you will cause serious injury or even death. Check your mirrors. Check your blind spot. Signal your lane change. Don't merge blind. The habits of safe driving only become habits when practices regularly.
Better weather means more accidents on New Jersey roads, including more motorcycle accidents. Protect yourself and those around you by being vigilant and responsible behind the wheel.