Motorcycle Safety

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Put Safety in the Saddle (and the Driver's Seat Too)

Whether Straddling a Cycle or Sharing the Road with One,
Help Protect ALL Who Enjoy the Highway

The wind whistles by as a ribbon of freedom stretches ahead.

It's a dream realized by millions as they pursue their next motorcycle adventure.

For countless others, the dream involves four wheels instead of two. But it's equally precious, and relies on the same highways and byways.

To help protect the dreams of drivers and riders alike, here are some safety tips from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

And if riding is your passion, please enter our Dreamin' of Sturgis sweepstakes (see banner at right). American Family will fund one lucky winner's trip to the ultimate motorcycle rally – while others will win cycle-themed prizes in weekly drawings.

Safe Practices for Cyclists

Watch the 'No Zones'

Cyclists should never hang out in a truck's blind spot or "no zone" - large areas on every side of a vehicle where drivers cannot see them.

Because motorcycles can stop so much more quickly than semis, the front blind spot is particularly dangerous.

Always Wear a Helmet

Helmets are the most important piece of equipment a cyclist can wear. In a serious crash, it could be your only source of protection.

Drive to Survive

Because motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road, they often go unnoticed. Pay close attention to the signals and brake lights of nearby vehicles, especially trucks.

And because some drivers forget to signal - or their lights don't work - be extra cautious and drive defensively.

Never tailgate, ride in between traffic lanes or share a lane with another vehicle.

Check Your Bike

Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride. Proper maintenance will help reduce your chance of a crash.

Watch Your Speed

Of all vehicles, motorcycles accelerate the fastest, while trucks and buses are the slowest. Watch your speed around larger vehicles, especially in bad weather or at night.

Develop Your Skills

Before getting on a motorcycle, take a rider training course and practice, practice, practice. Even experienced riders can benefit from a refresher course.

Respect Conditions

Avoid riding in the rain. If traveling is unavoidable, stay off painted lines and metal surfaces, which offer less traction.

Watch road surfaces for hazards like potholes, oil slicks, puddles and uneven surfaces.

By paying closer attention to all vehicles - two-wheel, four-wheel and more - we can create a safer highway for all our motoring dreams!

Driver Education

Motorcycles have the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the road. To help protect their operators:

  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width-never try to share a lane.

  • Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.

  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.

  • Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle - motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.

  • Allow more following distance - three or four seconds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

  • Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

  • Never drive while distracted.

These recommendations were developed using generally accepted safety standards.