According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 57 percent of motorcycle accidents involve at least one other vehicle. More often than not, the other vehicle is a passenger vehicle or even a large commercial truck. Passing is one of the most dangerous maneuvers other drivers can make around motorcyclists. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are often in blind spots, ignored, or not given the courtesy and respect they deserve on the road.
Sadly, some pay with their lives or with catastrophic, life-altering injuries. If you or someone you love was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered injuries, an experienced Orlando motorcycle accident attorney can help. All drivers should take care when passing motorcycle riders. When they don’t, accidents are bound to happen.
The Safe Way to Pass Motorcycle Riders
Safely passing a motorcycle involves attentiveness and visual, cognitive, and motor skills. You should only pass when you can give the maneuver 100 percent of your attention.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests this strategy for safely passing a motorcycle rider:
- Show the rider that you plan to switch lanes. When, and only when the road ahead is clear, put on your signal sooner than you might if you were passing another passenger vehicle. This provides motorcyclists extra time to expect your passing and allows them to put themselves in the ideal position. Under the law, motorcyclists can use the entire width of their lane. You can’t legally infringe upon it.
- Next, look at your mirrors and blind spots. It’s critical to look and then double-check your mirrors and blind spots. Take your time to understand the motorcycle’s position and location relative to your lane and vehicle. Finally, you will want to identify the motorcycle rider’s precise location before passing or switching lanes.
- Once you are sure that now is the time to make your move, get into the passing lane, and avoid speeding up to pass. Only pass if you can do it without exceeding the posted speed limit. Even a gust of wind can throw a motorcyclist off balance, which increases the risk of an accident.
- Once you are in the new lane, cancel your turn signal.
- Finish passing and keep up your speed. Once you pass a motorcycle, your speed should remain consistent and predictable. Keep up with the traffic flow.
- It’s not safe to get back into that lane until you see the motorcyclists in your rearview mirror. Remember that motorcycle riders are highly vulnerable to roadway debris. Moving back into the lane too soon can be hazardous for both you and them. Be sure to check your mirrors and blind spots, ensuring that you can see the motorcyclist in your rearview mirror.
- Signal again, as it’s imperative to always use directional signals.
- Change lanes and, finally, cancel your turn signal.
Other tips for passing motorcyclists on Orlando roads include:
- Stay in your lane until you can safely pass.
Sometimes when trying to pass a motorcycle, a driver will attempt to lane split. Unfortunately, doing so in a passenger vehicle partly puts them in between two lanes. It closes the space between the motorcycle and the sides of the passenger vehicle. However, motorists should always leave the motorcycle rider the entire width of their lane to maneuver safely.
- Avoid splitting multiple bikers, if possible.
It’s common for motorcyclists to head out together for events, such as a group tour or charity ride. These groups may spread out, especially when traveling on a winding stretch of road or pulling out from a traffic light or stop sign. It may make it seem like you can pass one motorcyclist or a few in the group at a time. However, when driving into the middle of a group of bikers, you risk coming too close to one or more of them, and you may disrupt traffic flow. Instead, it’s best to pass the entire group at once without breaking into the line. Wait until you have passed the lead motorcyclist in the group before attempting to change lanes.
When Is It Okay to Pass a Motorcycle?
It’s normal for vehicle drivers to feel frustrated or unsure about how to share the road with motorcycles. Many drivers find motorcycle drivers unpredictable. They drive too fast or create obstacles on the road that clog up traffic causing them not to reach their destination when they want to.
Even still, those riding a motorcycle have the same rights as those driving passenger vehicles. They are entitled to safely get to where they are going, share the road, and occupy their lane. It’s best to rely on these guidelines when determining if it’s okay to pass a motorcyclist.
1. You have an open lane to pass the motorcycle.
Before switching lanes to pass a motorcycle, ensure that you have enough room to pass safely. Observe the other lane of traffic. Only pass when you have two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction or a broken centerline, allowing you to pass slow-moving traffic in your lane legally.
If you don’t have an open lane of traffic, you must wait until one occurs to pass safely. When passing using a cross-traffic lane, give yourself ample space between any oncoming traffic while you need to be in their lane. Avoid passing on a double yellow line or passing when you have to speed to pass in time to avoid running into oncoming traffic.
2. The motorcyclist travels well below the speed limit or the natural traffic flow.
Most roadways are assigned maximum speed limits, and many also have minimum speed limits. Additionally, vehicles on a given road typically establish a traffic flow, which can help reduce the risk of accidents. If you observe that a motorcyclist is traveling well below the posted speed limit or well below the flow, it’s time to find out why.
Sometimes, their drop in speed is because of poor road or weather conditions. If so, it can be dangerous to pass them, especially if the conditions are already creating stability challenges. Suppose you don’t notice any apparent reason for their speed change, and they appear to be voluntarily going slower. In that case, you can safely change lanes or pass the motorcycle.
3. You can pass without surpassing the speed limit or the current traffic flow.
Most of the time, you should only pass a motorcycle or any vehicle if you can safely do so without going over the speed limit. The speed limit depends on ideal weather conditions and many safety factors. While you never have a guarantee that there won’t be an accident or injuries, the posted speed limit is what experts have determined is the safest but fastest speed for that area.
At night in the dark or if there is poor weather, it might be necessary to decrease your rate of speed to pass safely, or it might be unsafe to pass altogether. If you can’t pass a motorcyclist without going over the speed limit or going too fast for the current conditions, it’s not okay to pass.
4. You have suitable visibility to pass safely.
Most motorcyclists avoid riding in dangerous weather conditions. Rain frequently hits motorcycle riders hard if they aren’t wearing adequate protection. Bad weather can also easily disorient motorcyclists. They will often try to pull off the road if there are less than ideal weather conditions, but sometimes, they try to stay on the road. Foggy conditions may also exist, or it can be late at night, both resulting in reduced visibility.
In inclement weather or dark conditions, you need to have adequate visibility before attempting to pass a motorcycle rider. On winding roads, when visibility drops considerably, or when you have a hard time tracking the moves of the motorcycle next to you, you should avoid changing lanes. Wait until you have a straight stretch of road, long enough to pass safely with clear visibility.
5. You can safely pass the motorcyclist in the left lane.
Generally, slower drivers should always stay to the right on any road no matter what type of vehicle they operate. Drivers needing to pass should always pass a vehicle on a lane to their left instead of their right.
If you can’t pass without using a right lane, it’s best for everyone that you stay behind the motorcycle until a lane to the left has room for you to pass, even if it’s the motorcycle lingering in the left lane.
Getting in the right lane to quickly pass or swerve around a motorcycle rider or motorist significantly increases the risk of a traffic accident and is unpredictable driving behavior.
When to Avoid Passing a Motorcycle Rider?
It’s easy to become impatient with motorcyclists on the road. However, sometimes you should avoid passing a motorcycle, even if they have slowed to an intolerable pace. Never dangerously or illegally pass a motorcycle. Here’s when you should avoid trying to pass a motorcycle.
1. You need to pass with a solid double yellow line on a two-lane road.
If you are on a two-lane road and a solid double yellow line is present, now isn’t the time to pass anyone, including a motorcyclist. This yellow line down the center means that it’s unsafe to pass here, and you shouldn’t try doing so for any reason. Roadways have these lines for a reason.
2. You need to go over the speed limit to pass the motorcycle.
Don’t break the speed limit law to pass a motorcyclist. Instead, be patient and wait until you can safely move away from the motorcycle without exceeding the speed limit.
3. You lack adequate visibility to complete passing.
If it’s impossible to see everything clearly to pass safely, don’t ever try to change lanes or pass a motorcycle. The motorcyclist can speed up unexpectedly, especially if they don’t know that you are trying to pass them. If you can’t see a motorcyclist clearly, you can’t pass safely.
4. You have to pass abruptly and quickly to get back into the other lane.
Never pass a motorcycle if, for example, you are on a two-lane road and notice that you are getting close to a double yellow line and you don’t have enough room to complete the pass before the double line. The same applies if you know that you will need to exit or change lanes soon and must finish passing quickly to make your next move.
When sharing the road with a motorcycle, you must use care and caution when passing, changing lanes, or adjusting your speed, as you should with any other vehicle. Take greater care around a motorcycle in many ways than other passenger vehicles.
Even if the situation seems safe and you feel like you have everything under control, you shouldn’t pass a motorcyclist if any of the above issues exist or apply. It’s not worth risking someone’s life or well-being, including your own, to get where you are going sooner or relieve your frustration on the road.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Suppose you are a motorcyclist and another driver crashed into you while attempting to pass you. In that case, a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer can help you seek to recover financial compensation for your damages. The right law firm fights for motorcyclists’ rights to remain safe on the roads. A lawyer knows that other negligent motorists often cause these accidents either they didn’t understand your rights to the road, or they didn’t care about them.
It’s a motorcycle accident lawyer’s job to hold them accountable for their actions and get you the compensation you deserve. Reach out for help today to receive a free case consultation.
In your consultation, a motorcycle accident attorney will assess whether you can blame another driver, possibly due to unsafe passing.
Call a lawyer so you never pay for losses another driver caused you.