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Distracted drivers and motorcycles: A dangerous combination

Many Erie-area drivers have probably seen the bumper sticker which urges drivers to "start seeing motorcycles." What does this common decal mean? When it comes to preventing a

motorcycle accident

, a driver's awareness of the presence of a motorcycle is often the starting point for roadway safety.

Unlike a passenger car, a truck or even a small Smart Car, a motorcycle has no exterior covering. Like a bicycle, a motorcycle is inherently harder to see than a larger, more defined car, truck or SUV. However, unlike a bicycle, a motorcycle is capable of going just as fast as a car, which means failure to notice it can result in catastrophic injuries for both a motorcyclist and the vehicle driver.

An example of how not noticing motorcycles can lead to tragedy is a situation in which a driver is waiting to make a left-hand turn. The driver should typically be watching out for anything that could cross its path: other cars, of course, but also motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. A distracted driver or a driver who is simply only watching out for cars could exhibit a failure to yield to oncoming traffic if such traffic is a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists themselves can become more visible by wearing brightly-colored gear, signaling in advance, remaining clear of driver's blind spots and assuming they are invisible to others on the road. For their part, vehicle drivers can avoid distractions, such as cell phones, and remember to look for all types of road users before making a turn, changing lanes or proceeding through an intersection. All types of road users should follow Pennsylvania's rules of the road in order to prioritize their own and other's safety.

Source:, "

Start seeing motorcycles

," accessed Feb. 6, 2015

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