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MSF Cautions Drivers Not to Be Distracted

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Just days ago, a bus driver was caught on video texting for six minutes before crashing into a sports utility vehicle that had stopped in traffic. The driver of the SUV suffered neck injuries, but luckily no one was killed due to the bus driver's negligence.

Had it been a motorcycle the bus plowed into, the results might have been far more deadly. This is just one example of the inherent dangers motorcyclists face every day on the road - the danger of other motorists.

“The most common type of collision occurs when a driver makes a left turn in an intersection directly in front of a oncoming motorcyclist. Afterwards, they usually say they never even saw the bike,” said Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) President Tim Buche.

“This is why it is so important for drivers to remember to expect to see motorcyclists on the roadway no matter what time of year."

Drivers have plenty of distractions, but many of these are within their power to control, like fiddling with the radio, applying make-up, eating, talking on cell phones, checking text messages, or worse yet, sending text messages while driving. In fact, according to the February 2008 issue of Brain Research, even if a driver uses a hands-free cell phone, there’s a 37 percent drop in activity in the region of the brain used for navigation.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and sharing the roadway is where motorist awareness starts. The MSF urges all car, bus, truck, and other motor vehicle drivers to follow the key safety messages listed below:

MSF’s 5 Key Messages for Drivers 

  1. Look for Motorcyclists - Use your eyes and mirrors to see what's around, and check the blind spots when you're changing lanes or turning at intersections. Look, and look again. 
  2. Focus on Driving - Hang up the phone, put down the MP3 player, settle the passengers, and drive. And NO texting. 
  3. Use Your Turn Signals - Signal your intentions for everyone's safety. 
  4. Give Two-Wheelers Some Room - Don't tailgate or pass too closely. 
  5. Take Your Time - Nothing is as important as the safety of your loved ones, yourself, and the others with whom you share the road.

For additional safety tips, video instruction, and other resources to help car, truck, and bus drivers learn how to safely interact with motorcyclists on the nation’s streets and highways, visit forcardrivers.com, a website launched by the MSF in 2008.

Since 1973, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.

The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. For RiderCourseSM locations, call 800.446.9227 or visit www.msf-usa.org.  

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Scuffle -Filtering  May 8, 2009 10:39 AM
I suggest showing this video to anyone who thinks filtering forward in traffic on a motorcycle is a bad idea.
lanesplitter -lanesplitting saves lives  May 8, 2009 09:03 AM
This is why I always lanesplit. In CA a competent motorcyclist would never get caught in the position that the SUV was in. I'd rather lose a mirror or get sideswipped than end up in a bus sandwich.
JC -Same thing.  May 8, 2009 08:47 AM
I saw the same thing on my last trip to LA a couple weeks ago. Granted, it was slower-paced traffic, but the guy in a car right next to me didn't even touch his brakes, just slammed into the back of another car. He was clearly focused on something else. I'm guilty of multitasking at times, but that little episode stayed with me for the rest of my trip and the cell phone stayed in my pocket. Dangerous stuff...
irksome -stupidity  May 7, 2009 07:38 PM
Cell phones are the greatest threat out there to bikes these days. Why some jackhole HAS to tell her bff that she just bought a 5 gallon tub of Chunky Monkey and is on her way home to snarf it all down and then cry herself to sleep again eludes me. This guy should be shot.
Shnapper -Common I'm Sure  May 7, 2009 03:34 PM
I'm sure this is way more common than we all realize, got to love the driver punching the steering wheel after the impact. No doubt he was more pissed at himself than concerned about the welfare of his passengers or the car he a s s rammed. I hope he lost his job, I hope all that do this kind of thing while driving think twice. Ultimately we need laws that no longer allow the use of cell phones and other gadgets (tv monitors etc etc) while a vehicle is in motion........ Happy safe riding all..........