How Motorcycles Can Pass Slow-Moving Cars and Trucks Safely

As a motorcyclist, you know well the incredible rush of freedom, energy, and joy riding brings. You probably also know that if you don’t ride safely, you’re at a substantially heightened risk for death or severe injury. According to the National Safety Council, motorcyclists make up 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, although they’re only 3 percent of all registered vehicles.

Statistics also show that motorcyclists are at enhanced risk when passing or overtaking another vehicle. In 2020, 52 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involved a crash with another vehicle. Within this group, 42 percent of the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles. Here’s what all motorcyclists need to know about passing or overtaking slower-moving cars and trucks safely.

Ask yourself if passing is a good idea. Getting stuck behind a slower-moving vehicle can be frustrating, but the risk of passing or overtaking a vehicle isn’t always worth it. If the traffic or road conditions are not right for passing, or you have a passenger or heavy load on the back of your bike that would interfere with your ability to accelerate, it’s safer and smarter to be patient.

Assess the road situation. Confirm that both the cruising and overtaking lanes ahead are sufficiently clear to pass or overtake and that there’s an ample gap between the vehicle you intend to overtake and any car or truck ahead of it. Avoid passing in intersections or areas with driveways or side roads because if a vehicle unexpectedly turns or changes lanes as you’re executing the maneuver, you will have nowhere to go, and a crash will be almost inevitable.

Make your intentions clear. If the road is clear, use your direction indicator to indicate that you intend to pass or overtake. In some cases, it may be appropriate to flash your headlights to ensure that other drivers know you’re there but always use your indicators.

Act decisively. When it’s the right time to move, act quickly and decisively. Accelerate while initiating the maneuver. Be sure to swing as widely as is safe around the vehicle you’re passing or overtaking. Keep an eye on the driver’s side mirror and front wheels, as a movement in these can indicate that the driver is about to turn or change lanes. Be particularly careful if the driver appears distracted or engages in other non-driving-related activities. Once you have passed the vehicle and gotten a sufficient distance ahead of them, reduce your speed.

Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident while passing another vehicle or otherwise, contact the experienced attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. We help people the rights of victims all over the state: Manchester, Concord, Nashua, Bedford, Derry, and beyond. Call 1-888-511-1010 for your free consultation today, or reach out online for a case evaluation.

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