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Behind-the-Wheel

When driving, always check to see if a motorcycle is in your blindspot

Watch out for motorcycles

“I’m a reader of your articles and I wonder if you could remind everyone that there are more motorcycles on the road. We all need to check around extra carefully because bikers are more vulnerable and easy to miss.

I'm writing this to you now because riding my motorcycle (recently) on my way to work, a driver swung across three lanes of traffic —from the right to the left—without doing a proper check and I had to lock my brakes to avoid getting hit by her vehicle.”

That incident could be an example of a looked-but-didn’t-see situation. This driver was not looking specifically for a motorcycle that was there to be seen but not conspicuous among the larger vehicles surrounding it.

Instead of just glancing over your shoulder before you turn or change lanes, search your blind spots to insure that nothing is there.

Motorcycles have a shorter stopping distance than cars and trucks do. Leave more following distance if you find yourself behind a motorcycle to prevent rear ending the rider if something unexpected happens.

Gearing down means a motorcycle will slow without the brake light coming on.

Motorcyclists are considered to be vulnerable road users under new legislation and a minimum following distance of three metres will be set. Remember that when stopping behind one at traffic controls.

There is no such thing as a “fender bender” for motorcycles. Always watch carefully for them when making a left turn. Any mistakes there can be fatal for the rider.

We rely on the visual change in size of an object to judge its distance and speed. Because motorcycles are smaller, we may mistake them as being slower and further away than they really are.

If you are passing a motorcycle, do it as you would for any other vehicle. Move completely out of the lane, complete the pass and then move back.

While we are on the subject, look before you open your door when exiting the left side of a parked vehicle.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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