Share the Road: Make It Safe for Everyone
Warm weather months are made for riding motorcycles and bikes, for running and for walking. With this in mind, we’re reminding everyone to Share the Road. These are our roads; we all have rights and responsibilities regardless of how we choose to get around. By acting with safety—of ourselves and others—in mind, we can all enjoy the summer months safely.
Motorcyclists are inherently at more risk than other motor vehicles because they lack many of the safety features of automobiles. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists. By following safe riding practices and reminding others to share the road with motorcyclists, we can save lives and make our roads safer for all.
- Always follow the rules of the road that keep us all safe; drive sober (no alcohol or drugs), be attentive, and obey speed limits.
- Understand motorcycle-riding practices like downshifting and weaving so you know how to anticipate and respond to them.
- Check your blind spots. Roughly 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter is hidden by blind spots. Be sure to properly adjust and use your side mirrors to better see motorcycles. They’re obviously smaller than vehicles and harder to spot.
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. Helmets saved the lives of 1,859 motorcyclists in 2016, and 802 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
- Ride sober; no alcohol or drugs. Ride attentively; no distractions.
- Always ride with a current motorcycle license. It’s the law. In 2016, 27 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
Bicyclists and Pedestrians
Warmer weather also brings out more bicyclists and pedestrians. Let’s all share the road with them by following some basic tips:
- Always follow the rules of the road that keep us all safe; drive sober, be attentive, and obey speed limits.
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, but be particularly careful around crosswalks; slow down and be prepared to yield to pedestrians.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk; there may be people crossing whom you can’t see.
- Know that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Treat bicycles as you would other vehicles.
- When passing, pass only when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane. Do not pass too closely.
- Look for bikes where vehicles do not appear. For example, before making a right-hand turn at an intersection, make sure a bicyclist isn’t approaching from the right rear of your vehicle.
- Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available. If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
- Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including phones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
- Never assume a driver sees you; he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach or watch for them to slow down. When in doubt, wait until traffic passes.
- Be visible: wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials (especially on arms, legs and feet) or use a flashlight at night.
- Avoid walking around traffic after drinking alcohol or using drugs; they impair your judgment and coordination. Plan for sober friends to help you get home safely.
- Always wear a bike helmet.
- To make you more visible to others, wear bright clothing during the day and reflective gear at night. Use a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike so drivers can see you when visibility is poor.
- Ride with the flow, in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
- Watch for hazards that may cause you to fall—like gravel, potholes, grates, or train tracks.
- No texting, listening to music, or using anything that takes your eyes, ears, or your mind off the road and traffic.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs before riding; they impair your judgment and coordination.
They’re Our Roads
Our communities are better places to live when everyone can get around safely. Remember: they’re our roads; everyone—whether in a vehicle, on a motorcycle or bike, or on foot—has the right to be safe.