motorcyclesLast week, the Freakonomics blog cited two studies showing that, at least in their specific locales, the overwhelming majority of bicycle and motorcycle crashes on the road are caused by motorists.  As a former motorcyclist who was involved in a crash caused by a car, I can personally relate to these studies as can most of the writers who commented on the Freakonomics blog.  Of course, there are plenty of bicyclists and motorcyclists that take unnecessary risks and do stupid things on the road, but I am guessing that most riders try very carefully to protect their precious cargo.

As a driver of a car, you can take several steps to try to avoid causing one of these disastrous events:

  • most obviously, focus on driving, put away your cell phone, your iPod, your eyeliner or your electric shaver (yes, I have seen both of these practices in action) and realize that your car can become a weapon – one that is much more dangerous to a vulnerable bicyclist or motorcyclist
  • look before you leap – always check carefully when switching lanes and be aware of blind spots
  • don’t open a car door without making sure that no one is approaching
  • give riders plenty of room when following or passing
  • be especially careful in intersections looking both ways before crossing or turning even when you have the right of way
  • obey all rules of the road and be generous and yield the right of way to riders

It is especially important to be aware of riders and road rules when driving outside of your home country.  Many countries have different rider/driver ratios — the more riders, the more careful you need to be.  Accidents are also more likely when you are trying to figure out strange road signs or how things work on the “wrong” side of the road.

This is the first post in a new series (three points to the readers who already knew this from the title of the post).  If you have ideas on ‘traveling responsibly’, please let us know.

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About The Author

Andrew Orr, Jr. serves as a Special Projects Director. Andy is responsible for taking the product development lead for certain large products being launched, including HTH Mobile and HTH Appointment Scheduling. Andy has an extensive entrepreneurial and technical background. He has served as HTH IT Director in the past as well as president of a number of entrepreneurial businesses. Andy earned his Master of Business Administration from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and his Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University.

7 Comments

  1. Hi!.. thanks for the article. I was trying to find the same exact information today and found out about your cool website from Google. Kinda quaint to see how I was trying to find something and it just materialized.:-)

  2. As a motorcycle rider, I’ve found that wearing a reflective safety vest really improves my visibility with auto drivers as well. I won’t jump on my bike without one now.

  3. I’d love to make my motorcycle my primary means of transportation, but for these reasons, I use my car more. Even when I’m wearing a neon, reflective vest, cars still seem to not see me.

  4. Thank you for your comment; it is great advice. Different countries have different legal blood alcohol limits for drivers (many of which are lower than that of the U.S.), so you may be better off just avoiding driving altogether if you have been drinking.

    http://www.healthytravelblog.com/2009/09/22/traveling-responsibly-part-two-if-you-plan-to-drive-beware-of-taking-your-drinking-habits-with-you/

  5. In addition, don’t drink and drive and don’t drive when you’re depressed or emotionally unstable.

  6. I think you are very smart and you are 100% right; you’re a very smart person, we need more people like you in this world.

  7. To reduce my carbon footprint, save on gasoline, and frankly to just have a little fun, I became the proud owner of a cute red scooter. Being the owner of a two wheeled vehicle, I can attest to the hazards that the four-wheeled vehicles can cause to the ‘little guy’ on the road. Although unintentional on their part, it has been my experience that many of the drivers of cars/4 wheelers just do not ‘see’ me on the road on my scooter. One should be a defensive driver regardless, but it is essential if you cruise on a two wheeled vehicle. I urge anyone that is considering a two wheeler, whether motorcycle or scooter, to take a defensive driving training course. Another personal observation that I have made from m view behind the wheel of my car is that when multiple cyclist are riding together, if their formation is that of the four corners of a square, in their respective lane, they seem to take on the status of a car/ 4wheeler. In other words, they are perceived as a car is and are therefore, more visible to the larger vehicles. Knowing that larger vehicles are aware of your presence seems to increase the safety factor. Cars seem to be able to ‘see’ the cyclist in this 4 square formation more-so then if the cyclist road in a sequential line, one behind the other. So take a class, ride in a in a safe formation, be vigilantly defensive and enjoy the road.
    Signed the X Scooter Driver.

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