How to spot motorcyclists


Motorcycle at junction.jpg

Regular visitors to this blog will know that we love to get you thinking about how you can become a better, safer driver. So, this week we’re going to give you lots of top advice about motorcyclists.

No easy ride

First, some homework. Pop over to our mates at THINK! and have a listen to the audio files on their motorcycling campaign page. Once you’re done, come back here and we’ll continue.

Welcome back...what did you think? It’s pretty grim isn’t it? Those tiny snippets of audio deal with the fallout from hitting a motorcyclist – and it’s not pleasant stuff.

But on a positive note, by following our advice, you’ll make our busy roads safer for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users – and that’s a good thing!

The bike’s progress

The first point to remember is to *make allowances* for motorcyclists. That sounds like it ought to be straightforward, but it’s not that easy. Why? Well motorcycles are simply not that common on our roads. You might be *expecting* to see the usual vehicles, for example, cars, lorries and vans and overlook the much smaller motorcycle.

The boffins call this phenomenon ‘inattentional blindness’. In short, it’s that thing that happens when you’re fully engaged in a task and you fail to see something that’s clearly visible, but unexpected.*

The key to spotting motorcyclists is to use your hazard perception and scanning skills at all times. Whenever you approach situations where they’re particularly vulnerable, such as at junctions or when vehicles are turning right, think ‘motorcyclist’. Remember that bikes may be hidden, for example, behind other traffic, road signs, trees, lamp posts etc.

You should also look carefully when you’re changing lanes or moving out to overtake slower-moving or parked vehicles. Check your mirrors properly before you begin the manoeuvre – it could be the difference that saves a life.

Rider beware

We hope you found this advice useful. Before we go, we’d like to say to any motorcyclists who are reading this blog: don’t forget that you have a responsibility to ride as safely as possible. Don’t take any unnecessary risks, and ride to be seen.

Opillion poll

Over the next few months we’ll be posting some stuff that’s written specifically for riders. If you’re a motorcycle man or woman, then get in touch and let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to blog about.

See you next time!

*If you’re interested in finding out more about this, check out The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving and The Official DVSA Guide to Riding - the essential skills 

There's also the completely fabulous Where’s your head? blog about inattentional blindness.