What Do Arizonian Car Drivers Need to Know About Motorcycle Safety? 

December 7, 2022
man on motorcycle with helmet and gloves on

Whether driving a car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, or even a horse and carriage, everyone’s goal when they get behind the wheel (or reins) is to safely get to their destination. Of course, you also need to keep in mind the health and well-being of others. Sure, motorcycle insurance is great, but all the money in the world does little good in the event of traumatic injury as the result of an accident. 

It can be difficult when you’re driving a standard automobile to remember that you’re sharing the road with motorcycles and other riders. But remember, the person on that Harley-Davidson could be a friend, neighbor, or even family member. With that in mind, let’s run down a list of motorcycle safety tips you, as a car driver in Arizona, can remember to lower the risk of potentially catastrophic collisions. 

Don’t Rely on Motorcycle Brake Lights on Arizona’s Roads 

Motorcycle operators have the ability to slow down without applying the brakes. Of course, cars can downshift as well, but with the prevalence of automatic transmissions in today’s vehicles, most drivers use their brakes to reduce speed and stop. Consequently, you might look for brake lights from the car in front of you to realize they’re slowing down. This might not be the case with a Yamaha FZ S FI, as the rider could choose to downshift or simply roll off the throttle a bit. 

A fender bender with a Yamaha is quite different than bumping into a Volvo XC 90. The Volvo driver will likely just pull over at the next opportunity to get out of their car and check to see if any damage occurred to the rear end. The Yamaha rider could be thrown from the vehicle and suffer serious injuries — especially if they weren’t wearing a helmet, which is not mandatory in all states. 

You can prevent bodily harm or even slight damage from a fender bender by not relying on brake lights. Instead, keep a keen eye on your surroundings in front and all around you. 

Blind Spots Can Hide a Motorcycle 

Just like with brake lights, you cannot fully rely on mirrors either. Blind spots can lead to deadly consequences if you only glance at the rearview or side mirrors before backing up or changing lines on a highway. Thankfully, most of today’s vehicles have enhanced features that include blind spot detection, where a light appears or even an alarm warns you of a vehicle in your blind spot. 

Even if your car is equipped with modern technology like blind spot detectors, it’s still recommended to take a few seconds and glance over your shoulder to ensure another vehicle is not in your intended path. 

Keep Your Eyes Open for All Vehicles 

We’re not talking about falling asleep at the wheel … although that is important too. Due to the slimmer, smaller size of a bike, they can often go unnoticed. Thankfully, the iconic rumble of the engine is usually loud enough to catch your attention. If you hear the roar but don’t see anything, keep looking before turning, changing lanes, or making any sudden movements. 

The more diminutive nature of a two-wheeler can also make them look farther away than they actually are, so adjust accordingly. It’s also easy to underestimate their speed. If you’re about to pull into traffic and you see one coming, consider that it might get to you faster than you think. Always keep your eyes open because you never know how suddenly the traffic around you can change. 

No Lane Sharing Allowed in AZ for Motorcycles 

Occasionally, you might see a misinformed biker “creating” their own lane by getting between your car and another vehicle with little separation. However, this is not an acceptable driving practice for any vehicle. You, as a car driver, also need to resist the temptation to share a lane. 

Not sharing a lane is even more critical when you realize that often a biker will adjust position within the same lane to avoid debris in the road or make themselves more easily seen by other drivers. You might misinterpret this maneuver as showing off, but it’s actually considered best practice for smart riding. 

car and motorcycle driving side-by-side on road

Take Extra Care on Left Turns to Avoid Motorcycles in Arizona 

The bane of every driver’s existence is the left turn: It requires you to cross at least one lane of oncoming traffic every time you execute one. On its own, this creates a hazardous condition. 

A left turn becomes even more dangerous when you consider how easy it is to misjudge the speed of another vehicle. If that vehicle has only two wheels and isn’t encased in steel for protection, it can easily become deadly. Suppose you make a left turn and didn’t see a moped in the lane you crossed. The moped is likely going to t-bone your vehicle, which will almost certainly send the rider flying for quite a distance. The resulting injuries will likely be substantial. 

If a cycle operator has insurance for motorbikes, that will help them pay for any damages to their machine. Their body, however, is a different story. Even if they own a policy that pays for medical expenses, a collision involving a left turn from an automobile can include life-changing effects. To avoid an accident like this weighing on your conscience, take extra care on left turns. 

Watch Out for the AZ Weather 

It’s shocking how dangerous Mother Nature can be. Obviously, nobody is going to take a lightweight Kawaski out for a spin during a hurricane or to chase a tornado, but spur-of-the-moment wind gusts can make it extremely challenging to maintain control of a smaller engine. 

Nighttime driving, rain, and certainly snow can make the roads treacherous for all drivers, so if you’re out during a weather event and you see someone in front of you on a two-wheeler, make sure you allow for plenty of stopping distance. The rider could easily lose control of their vehicle and you might not have ideal visibility. This is a recipe for disaster. Take extra care, as a car driver, in case weather affects another operator’s ability to stay on their bike. 

Approach All Arizona Intersections Carefully 

Much like bad weather can be a nightmare for anybody on the roads, so can a particularly nasty intersection. Some highly questionable traffic patterns can exist where different roads meet. 

Always follow the proper protocol when approaching any intersection and you’ll greatly reduce your risk of collision. Come to a complete stop at every crossing, obey all traffic signs and electronic signals, and look both ways before proceeding. Remember, at a four-way stop sign, whoever stops first has the right of way, but if two parties arrive at the same time, always defer to the person on the right. Having said all that, intersections should not be considered a battle where you’re stopping short to be the first one who can proceed. Stopping short could result in someone bumping you from behind, which again, is particularly troublesome for people on two wheels. 

Having top-notch insurance for motorcycles can help with liability when a cycle operator is determined to be at fault for any instance where they did not have the right of way at crossings. It can also help cover medical expenses and have several other benefits. If you know someone who could use this policy, you should tell them to review their coverage and ensure they have everything they need. 

Allow for a Longer Stopping Distance 

On a rainy evening, you might not have a clear view of the road or its surroundings. If you know there is someone on a bike in front of you, it’s best to allow for extra stopping time, just in case you see them start to veer side to side, indicating they might not have control. 

Slippery road conditions can become highly hazardous for riders on an open-air, two-wheel machine. If they lose control and skid along the road, you want to make sure you have enough time to stop before they’re removed from the vehicle and potentially lying helpless in the middle of the road. The best case scenario is that the person was wearing proper equipment, like a heavy jacket and (most importantly) a helmet. In that situation, the sliding on the surface shouldn’t cause too much harm. 

Recapping Safety Tips for Vehicle Drivers Sharing the Road 

Many of the motorcycle safety tips that car drivers need to be aware of have a few commonalities: 

  1. Two-wheel vehicles are not always easy to see, so take extra care when they’re around. 
  1. Don’t rely on mirrors, brake lights, or technology to tell you when things are safe. Keep your eyes open and double check when changing lanes, at high speeds in particular, and when moving through intersecting lanes of traffic. 
  1. Bad weather is tough for cars; it’s even trickier to navigate for bikers. In rain, it could be difficult for them to maintain control or stop. 

Remember, whether the person in front of you is driving a car with all kinds of advanced technology to protect them or an open-air mode of transportation, you’ll want to avoid any dangerous incidents. 

Find Affordable Motorcycle Insurance in Arizona Today 

If you own and operate a motorbike and something unfortunate does happen, like a collision, you’ll want to ensure you have the best motorcycle insurance available. Contact Oasis Insurance at (800) 330-5190 or visit us online to get a quick quote. One of our expert customer service team members will be happy to get you all the information you need for peace of mind when taking your bike on your next journey. 

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