How to Handle Speed and Intersections When Riding a Motorcycle

While riding a motorcycle is an excellent form of transportation, it is vital that you understand the rules of the road in regards to your alternative mode of transportation. In addition to the laws regarding all motor vehicles, there are special considerations regarding riding a motorcycle, both legal and common sense. Among those is learning how to approach intersections with safety in mind.

Start Smart

Before you take your motorcycle on the road, it is vital that you prepare the vehicle and yourself. Perform regular vehicle maintenance, including the lights and brakes. Ensure you have enough fuel to reach your destination and have the other fluids checked and replaced on schedule.

As for yourself, wear the appropriate gear designed for protection in the event of a collision. Riding a motorcycle, like travel in any other vehicle, comes with the potential risk of an accident. However, you don’t have the protective barrier of a car to shield you from the road. Therefore, you should wear a heavy jacket, gloves, boots and joint-protective clothing whenever you ride.

Additionally, Pennsylvania law requires protective eyewear for motorcycle riders. Although helmets are not required after the age of 21, wearing a DOT certified helmet can reduce head and neck injuries in the event of an accident. (Those under 21 can also ride without a helmet under certain conditions.)

Position Well in Advance

When riding a motorcycle, you should always be thinking and looking ahead. This includes knowing where upcoming intersections are and positioning yourself accordingly. You should be watching the road, other drivers and street signals. Avoid riding in the blind spots of drivers on either side of your motorcycle.

Create a safe zone around your vehicle that gives you sufficient time to react to the actions of the vehicle in front of you. If there are other bikes riding with you, don’t go down the road side-by-side. While this is appropriate for stopping at intersections, when in motion, you both need the extra lane space for safety.

Approaching the Intersection

As you get closer to the intersection, you might be tempted to slow down. However, this action can actually cause accidents. Other drivers might perceive your actions incorrectly, thinking you intend to stop. Instead of preventing a collision, braking just before an intersection can cause one.

Of course, if it is clear that another vehicle is going to run their red light or stop sign, you should take appropriate measures to prevent an accident. However, if you have been watching the traffic in the seconds leading up to the intersection, you should not have difficulty discerning between the two.

What Else You Should Know

Learning how to approach intersections, including the appropriate speed, is one aspect of riding a motorcycle that can improve your safety. State-certified courses and similar offerings can add to your defense driving skills. While you can minimize your chance of an accident with these steps, it is not always possible. Should someone strike you while you are riding a motorcycle, get the appropriate medical and legal attention to ensure you are able to heal and start riding again.


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