The safety tip this week isn’t about the kind of tailgating that’s a picnic in the stadium parking lot. Instead, it’s about the kind of tailgating that has a car or truck breathing down your neck when you’re riding your bike. It can happen, and probably will happen, to you, no matter how safely you ride.
When it does, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Motorcyclist online magazine have some ideas that might save you from a serious accident:
- You don’t want to ride faster than is comfortable for you, but you might be moving more slowly than the rest of the traffic. If so, seriously consider finding a route that’s traveled at a slower speed.
- Leave extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. This decreases the chances that you’ll have to slam on your own brakes and risk being hit from behind. Odd as it may seem, most motorcycle crashes involve a front-end collision. When you’re being tailgated, you’re distracted—more reason to leave extra space in front.
- Try lightly tapping your brakes. Maybe the driver behind you isn’t aware of how closely their following. If that doesn’t work, just signal and pull over to the side when it’s safe to do so, let the tailgater pass, and then signal and return to the road. No, you shouldn’t have to inconvenience yourself because of a rude driver. But, it’s better to be safe than right.
If the driver continues to tailgate, tap your brakes a few times before you use them to stop and signal turns early. This will give the tailgater time to slow or back off.
- Ride in the part of your lane that gives you the best view of what’s ahead so you can anticipate problems. When you’re stopped, if you’re in the right- or left-hand part of your lane, the driver has room to swerve and avoid hitting you. Keep an eye on your mirrors when you’re stopped and don’t hesitate to flash your brake lights.
- Whatever you do, don’t respond with rude words or gestures. This will only make the situation worse.
Stay safe out there!