Motorist Tips

Motorist Tips

With a plethora of sunny days and no shortage of scenic byways, Colorado offers motorcyclists an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the open road any month of the year. Riders also commute to and from work daily on our highways and side streets.

Surprisingly, over 60 percent of fatalities in 2009 happened in riders' home counties, just a few miles from home.

A few reminders to motorists can help riders and drivers alike to arrive safely.

Watch aggressively for motorcycles.

  • Search the traffic around you constantly and expect to see motorcycles.
  • Check your blind spots before changing lanes or merging, especially in heavy traffic.
  • Double-check traffic at intersections before you turn or pull out.
  • Motorcycles can easily be hidden in traffic. Look for a helmet above, tires below, or a shadow alongside a vehicle that you can't see around.

Anticipate hazards that may confront the motorcyclist and predict how the motorcyclist may react to the situation.

  • Poor road conditions, bad weather, flying debris, oil slicks, and heavy traffic pose high risks for motorcyclists.

Allow a minimum two-second "space cushion" when following a motorcycle.

  • Pick out a fixed object ahead of you. When the motorcycle passes the object, count off, "one thousand one, one thousand two." If you haven't passed the same object after two seconds, your following distance meets the two-second minimum.
  • In poor driving conditions, at higher speeds and at night, use a four or five-second following distance to give the motorcyclist more space.

Watch out when turning left.

  • Most crashes between cars and motorcycles involve turning left at an intersection. If you are preparing to cross traffic or turn left, take a second look for motorcycles.
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than cars, it is harder to see them and more difficult to judge their approach speed in traffic.

Share the road.

  • Do not drive your car in the same lane as a motorcycle. It is unsafe and illegal.
  • Treat motorcyclists with the same respect and courtesy you afford to other motorists.
  • Observe and obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.

Failure to obey and yield the right-of-way can result in the death or serious injury of a motorcyclist.

  • Stay focused on the driving task. Inattentive driving is a major cause of car-motorcycle crashes.
  • Use turn signals to indicate your next move. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
  • Remove all possible distractions that can interfere with the driver's attention, and remove any objects that may block the driver's view.