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Tips for safely sharing Wisconsin roads with motorcyclists

Some motorcyclists can be reckless and give other bikers a bad reputation among Wisconsin drivers. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation points out, however, that the majority of motorcycle accidents are the fault of the other driver.

No matter how cautious a motorcyclist is, there are dangers inherent in sharing the road with other vehicles. They need to be extremely vigilant around drivers who may not see them. According to an official with the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, a motorcycle is more likely to be in a driver's blind spot or obscured by another object than a larger vehicle.

The PIAW notes some important things about motorcyclists and their riders that drivers need to be aware of to help ensure that they don't collide with a motorcyclist. A crucial safety tip is to allow plenty of space between you and a cyclist in front of you -- no less than three or four seconds. That's for a number of reasons. Depending on what steps the cyclist takes to slow down, his or her brake light may not go on. Further, if the road is slippery, stopping can be difficult on a motorcycle.

We've all seen cyclists changing lanes repeatedly. That isn't always to make it to their destination faster or show off. They have to maneuver around road debris. They must also make sure that they're in a position to be seen by other motorists. Again, allowing plenty of space will help keep everyone safe.

Many drivers may not be aware that motorcycles often appear to be at a greater distance than they are. That means that drivers should use extra caution when pulling out of a driveway, changing lanes or turning if they see a motorcycle. It may be closer or moving faster than you think.

The PIAW official says the most important rule of thumb for drivers is "to see more than the motorcycle -- see the person on the bike who could be your friend, neighbor or relative."

Motorcyclists who are involved in an accident have a greater likelihood of serious injury or death than those in cars simply because they are more exposed. Even people lucky enough to survive a crash may face a long recovery, lost wages and huge medical bills. If the other motorist was at fault, civil litigation can help recover the money needed to ease those financial burdens.

Source: lacrossetribune.com, "Keeping Motorcyclists Safe on Wisconsin Roads" No author given, Jun. 18, 2014

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