Safe Driving Tips for Motorists

About half of all motorcycle crashes involve a collision with another vehicle. In many crashes, the driver never saw the motorcyclist - or didn't see him or her until it was too late. There are many reasons why other drivers do not see motorcyclists.

  • Most car drivers aren't familiar with motorcycles, so they don't think to look for them in traffic.
  • Motorcycle riders typically wear dark colors and can easily blend into the background and "disappear."
  • Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, so they are more difficult to spot in traffic and can be hidden by other vehicles or roadside features.
  • Daytime headlight use does not give motorcycle riders much of an advantage anymore, due to the widespread use of daytime running lights on cars.
  • The smaller size and single headlight on the motorcycle makes it more difficult for other drivers to judge a rider's speed and distance.

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center encourages everyone--car drivers and motorcyclists--to practice these techniques to make motorcycling safer for everyone.

1. WHEN TURNING LEFT Most crashes between cars and motorcycles involve turning left at an intersection. If you plan to cross traffic or turn left, please LOOK TWICE for motorcycles before you turn.
2. BLIND SPOTS Motorcycles are easily hidden in traffic. Always take a second look over your shoulder—don’t rely solely on your mirrors for information.

3. WEATHER Rain and sun glare can make a motorcycle invisible. Take an extra moment to make sure the way is clear.

4. SIGNALS Use turn signals to indicate your next move. This allows the rider to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.

5. LARGER VEHICLES Cars and trucks can conceal a motorcycle traveling behind it. Take an extra moment after a larger vehicle passes before you begin your turn behind it.

6. EYE CONTACT Motorcyclists make eye contact often to feel confident that other drivers see them. Please give a nod back to acknowledge them.

7. DISTANCE Motorcyclists prefer to use a large space cushion, allowing them more time to react. Please do not cut in front of a motorcycle and eliminate the safe following distance.

8. SIGNALS Most motorcycle turn signals do not cancel automatically. If you see a cycle coming, and the signal is flashing, please wait a moment for the cycle to pass.