Yet wet roads are not the only thing you should anticipate as you drive in Middle Tennessee this spring.
As TDOT, the Tennessee Department of Transportation notes, more people are out in warmer weather, and motorcycle owners take to the roads in greater numbers once the winter is over. Unfortunately, the same outdoor exposure that makes motorcycling fun is also a risk for riders.
Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Colonel Tracy Trott states:
“When a car collides with a motorcyclist, it is much different than a crash between two cars…A motorcyclist has little defense against the tons of steel that will hit them. While traffic fatalities statewide are declining, motorcycle fatalities have continued to rise. Over the last decade, we have seen an approximate twenty-five percent increase.”
We want to point out that most of these fatalities can be prevented if motorists are careful and mindful of the presence of motorcycles (and also bicycles) on the road. Look twice! It’s important to keep in mind that while the roadway is used principally by cars and trucks, motorcycles, scooters and bikes also have the right to use them. Keeping an eye out for these smaller vehicles is important, especially as the weather improves and their use on the roads increases.
If you are a driver:
• Look twice before turning. Look for two-wheeled vehicles, not just other cars and trucks.
• Remember that motorcycles can accelerate faster than cars. It is often difficult to gauge their distance and rate of speed, so exercise caution.
• Always signal to show your intent, so other drivers and riders can anticipate your pathway and react accordingly.
If you ride a motorcycle, drive defensively:
• Training will help you react better in dangerous situations. The Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program has courses that will make you a better rider. Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, these programs will help to make you safer. TMREP also has a course for trikes.
• Make sure you have a helmet which is TDOT certified and fits correctly.
• Reflective and protective gear add to your safety
The most important rule to remember when biking, is defense, defense, defense! Always expect the other driver to not see you.