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Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department

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4 Minutes Read

Motorcycle Awareness: Essential Tips for Safer Driving

Driving is a daily activity that requires interaction with other drivers, including motorcyclists. Understanding the unique challenges faced by motorcyclists on the road can help promote a safer driving environment for everyone. In this article, we will explore several aspects of driving safely around motorcycles that are often not covered in the standard driving manual.

Understanding Intersection Dangers

Intersections can be particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. According to statistics, forty-two percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involving another motor vehicle occur at intersections. To better navigate these dangers, drivers should take extra precautions. One essential step is to use rear- and side-view mirrors to ensure that no vehicles, including motorcycles, are in their blind spots. When turning at an intersection, it's crucial to have a clear view of oncoming traffic, including pedestrians and motorcyclists. Slowing down the decision-making process and proceeding with caution can significantly reduce the risk of a collision.

Knowing Your Vehicle's Blind Spots

Blind spots pose a significant danger to motorcyclists. Nearly half of the area around a vehicle is hidden in blind spots. Motorcyclists often weave within their lane to avoid these blind spots and increase their visibility to other vehicles. As a driver, understanding your specific vehicle's blind spots is essential to avoid collisions, especially during lane changes. It is crucial to stay alert and compensate for the lack of vision in blind spots. Paying extra attention to line-of-sight blind spots caused by hills, curved roadways, or obstructed views can further enhance safety on the road.

Staying Alert: Motorcycles Are Hard to See

Motorcycles have a narrow profile, which can make them difficult to spot for motorists. They can be easily hidden in a car's blind spots or masked by objects outside the car. Additionally, changing light and weather conditions can further obscure their visibility.

It is not uncommon for motorists to overlook the presence of motorcycles or misjudge their distance, leading to a higher risk of collisions. To address this issue, drivers should always remain vigilant and actively look out for motorcycles on the road. Adjusting driving behavior to account for reduced visibility can significantly enhance safety for both motorists and motorcyclists.

Better Spotting Motorcycles on the Road

Improving the ability to spot motorcycles is crucial for ensuring their safety on the road. Drivers can take several steps to enhance their awareness of motorcycles:

  1. Adjust rear and side-view mirrors to minimize blind spots.
  2. Exercise patience and take the time to observe intersections and parking lots before proceeding.
  3. Drive at a speed that allows for safe interaction with other drivers, including motorcyclists.
  4. Keep full concentration on the road, avoiding distractions that can impair awareness.

By following these guidelines, drivers can better identify motorcycles and reduce the risk of accidents.

Being Aware of Motorcycle Braking Issues

Motorcyclists often employ different braking techniques compared to drivers of four-wheeled vehicles. Instead of relying solely on brakes, motorcyclists frequently downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down. This can result in a lack of brake lights, making it difficult for motorists to anticipate a motorcyclist's actions. To ensure safety, drivers should maintain a larger braking cushion when following motorcycles. Allowing a three to four-second following distance can provide adequate time to react to sudden braking or changes in speed.


Driving safely alongside motorcyclists requires a deeper understanding of their unique challenges on the road. By being aware of intersection dangers, knowing your vehicle's blind spots, staying alert for hard-to-see motorcycles, improving your ability to spot motorcycles, and being mindful of motorcycle braking issues, you can contribute to a safer driving environment. Remember, cooperation and awareness are key to keeping the roads safe for all motorists, including our two-wheeled friends.


1. Do motorcyclists have to follow the same traffic rules as other drivers?

Yes, motorcyclists are subject to the same traffic rules and regulations as other drivers. It is essential for motorcyclists to adhere to these rules to ensure their safety on the road.

2. How can I improve my visibility as a motorist when there are motorcycles around?

To improve visibility, make sure your rear and side-view mirrors are properly adjusted to minimize blind spots. Take extra caution when changing lanes or making turns and always double-check for any approaching motorcycles.

3. Are there specific driving techniques that can help prevent accidents with motorcycles?

Yes, maintaining a safe following distance, being aware of blind spots, and avoiding distractions can help prevent accidents with motorcycles. Additionally, practicing patience and caution at intersections can significantly reduce the risk of collisions.

4. What should I do if I see a motorcyclist weaving in and out of lanes?

If you see a motorcyclist weaving in and out of lanes, they may be trying to avoid blind spots or increase their visibility.

Give them extra space and be patient. Do not attempt to block or impede their movement.

5. How can I support motorcycle safety as a driver?

Supporting motorcycle safety as a driver involves being attentive, following traffic rules, and being considerate of motorcyclists on the road. Stay alert, give them space, and always be prepared to yield when necessary.


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Disclaimer: The content published on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or an endorsement of any particular course of action. The information provided is based on general principles and may not be applicable to individual circumstances. For personalized legal advice or assistance, please consult with a qualified attorney. The views expressed in guest posts are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Village of Cambridge Police Department.
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