As previous posts have noted, perhaps the most common tips for how a North Carolina driver can avoid a collision with a motorcycle are to keep a safe following distance, about 3 or 4 seconds, and to keep a special eye out for motorcyclists since they are more difficult to see, particularly when they are in a car’s blind spots. While an inadvertent failure to yield is a common cause of a bike crash, there are other things about which drivers in the Raleigh area need to know in order to stay safe around motorcycles.
For example, cars need to keep a safe distance from a motorcycle because a motorcyclist usually will not signal its stop by braking before it is needed. Also, motorcycles generally do not have turn signals that click off automatically. Any motorcyclist, especially a beginner, can forget to turn off a turn signal after making a turn. A driver should not automatically assume a motorcycle signaling a turn actually will turn or change lanes.
Likewise, motorists should not presume that a motorcycle driver who frequently shifts positions in a lane is simply trying to show off or, even more unlikely, inviting another vehicle to pass the bike without changing lanes itself. Motorcyclists often shift within a lane to avoid an object that would be insignificant to a car or truck or even simply to call attention to the motorcyclist’s presence on the road.
Finally, motorists should remember that the small size and durability of a motorcycle do not give a cyclist unlimited ability to swerve out of the way of danger. Especially in poor weather, a motorcyclist could have a difficult time moving safely. Moreover, the size of a motorcycle can make it hard for another driver to predict whether a bike is slowing down or is at a safe distance. Drivers should always make conservative assumptions when around motorcyclists in order to avoid collisions.