Increasing numbers of baby boomers are channeling Dennis Hopper – the freewheeling biker in the iconic ‘60s film Easy Rider – and taking to the roads on motorcycles.
In California, Department of Motor Vehicles stats show that baby boomers make up 56 percent of nearly 1.4 million Californians licensed to operate motorcycles, while only 30 percent of Class M licenses are held by people ages 16 through 40. Read More.
To help ensure safety amongst riders of all ages, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled the following general tips for drivers:
- Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
- Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:
- Wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
- Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
- Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
- Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
- Never ride distracted or impaired.
For more information on motorcycle safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.