Many motorists are unaware of certain laws and safety practices that ensure safe driving when motorcycles are on the road. While there are rules that motorcycle drivers must follow, there are things that drivers of cars, trucks and SUVs can do to make sure to avoid motorcycle accidents in Virginia on highways and surface streets.
Know the Rules
In the state of Virginia, motorcycles are not required to have turn signals. Drivers can turn using hand signals. So pay close attention to a motorcyclist’s intent when you are sharing the road with them.
Also, motorcycles are permitted to operate two to a lane. That means, if two motorcycles are sharing the lane in front of you or behind you, you have to pay attention to both of their turning intents and make sure you accommodate them.
There is no passenger age restriction for motorcycles in VA, so many motorcyclists may be giving their children a ride to school. As long as the child is in a passenger seat with passenger footrests and is wearing a helmet, this is completely legal. Just like you would with any car carrying a child passenger, take extra caution.
Make sure to give motorcycles plenty of room. It takes less room for them to stop, and they may maneuver in and out of traffic to avoid bumps in the road that are easy for you to simply drive over. Also, because motorcycles are smaller, they are easier to miss, so make sure you check your blind spot to make sure it is OK to change lanes or turn, then check again before you do. Many motorcycle accidents occur because the driver of a car failed to see the motorcycle before turning or changing lanes.
Also take care in passing a motorcycle. If you pass too closely or in a gravelly or rocky lane, you could throw rocks and dirt into the driver’s face, causing a serious hazard on the road.
Whenever you drive, be mindful and courteous and you can avoid accidents.