To date (Aug. 23) nine motorcyclists have died this year in crashes in Nova Scotia. The RCMP and motorcycle groups are advocating for drivers and cyclists to be cautious.
Motorcycle safety is a contentious issue and is often a case of “he said she said.” Statistics however, show that motorcyclists and larger vehicles have a similar rate of getting in an accident but motorcycle accidents usually lead to greater injury or death.
Rural areas, such as Queens, don’t usually have to contend to issues like motorcyclists zipping up through stopped traffic as traffic jams are generally not a rural event. However visibility and awareness go a long way.
Anecdotally many motorcyclists tell stories of cars passing them on the shoulder when attempting to turn left, nearly being clipped by cars going right when the motorcyclist has the right of way to go left, or not being seen when pulling out of a parking lot or side street.
Motorcyclists also have dangers from smaller issues than cars do. A bit of spilled gravel on the road can be deadly to a motorcyclist going around a corner. Potholes and uneven roads can knock a bike over or send them in a direction they don’t wish to go.
There are a few things four-wheeled vehicle drivers can do to keep motorcyclists safer. Always check mirrors before turning. Never tailgate a motorcycle, they can stop significantly faster than cars which would cause drivers behind them to rear-end them. Have patience and resist the urge to treat them differently because they are smaller. Most people wouldn’t pass cars on the inside of a lane, why is it okay for a motorcycle?
Motorcyclists also need to keep themselves as safe as they can. Riding in staggered formation with groups can make you more visible. Wearing proper protective gear is also important. In the summer it is hard to resist the urge to wear shorts and a t-shirt but if one were to get in an accident, road rash would be a sure thing. Give cars the respect you want in return, don’t take advantage of your small size to pull illegal moves while driving.
Awareness and respect of each other are key to keeping the road safe for both cars and motorcycles.