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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and in northern California, motorcyclists are taking to the roads once again as the weather warms up. You can help protect your own safety and that of motorcyclists by staying aware of the major safety risks bikers face by driving in a way that helps to minimize the risk to those on motorcycles. Both motorcyclists and other drivers play a key role in preventing motorcycle crashes, as many experienced San Jose motorcycle accident attorneys have seen.

When you’re driving in traffic near motorcycles, remember the following tips:

  • Smooth sailing for you isn’t always smooth for motorcycles. Oil spills, potholes, cracked or uneven pavement, railroad tracks, and rainwater may pose no threat to a car or a truck, but create serious risks for motorcycles. Keep an eye on pavement conditions, and slow down or adjust your spacing as needed to allow motorcycles to navigate obstacles safely.
  • Look more than you think you should. It’s easy not to see motorcyclists, especially when they are in your vehicle’s blind spots. Check your mirrors and blind spots and look both ways before crossing an intersection. Double- and even triple-checking can save a life.
  • Use your signals. Use your vehicle’s turn signals to indicate when you plan to merge, change lanes, or make a turn. Communicating your intentions gives motorcyclists valuable information they can use to adjust to the best lane position to protect themselves and others.
  • Leave plenty of space. Always leave motorcycles the full lane width, even if it looks like your vehicle will fit alongside one. Also, leave at least four seconds’ following distance between your car and a motorcycle ahead of you. This gives the motorcyclist room to maneuver and protects you if the motorcycle stops suddenly.