Southern California Norton Owner%27s Club Cambria Ride on hwy 41 near Creston, CA

With summer coming to a close you may see an increase of two-wheeled vehicles on the road, from motorcyclists hoping to enjoy their last few rides before the cold sets in. In recent years motorcycles have had a resurgence in popularity.

The downside to this growth is an increase in accident fatalities. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle accidents accounted for 4,500 deaths in 2011.

Because bikers are exposed to the elements, and not encased in the sheet metal of a four-wheeled vehicle, they’re more vulnerable to injuries in a roadway accident. But because they’re much smaller and not the predominant type of vehicle on the road, motorcycles are easily overlooked by drivers of vehicles with four wheels or more, and are more likely to be involved in an accident.

If you’re a biker, you’ve got to take extra measures to ensure your own safety. But as the driver of a car, van, SUV or truck, you need to take heed of the following points to improve bikers’ margin of safety avoiding auto body accidents:

• Two-wheeled vehicles have a legal right to use the road safely. Drivers of larger vehicles are required to give them their right of way.

• Actively search for motorcycles on the road. Because they’re small, they are more easily hidden by your blind spots, to the side and rear of your vehicle.

• Give them more space. Motorcycles can stop in a shorter distance than bigger vehicles, so it’s best to give them a bigger safety cushion when you’re behind them.

• Expect motorcycles to make sudden emergency maneuvers. Road surface irregularities – like puddles, potholes, sand or gravel – that are a minor inconvenience for a big vehicle are especially hazardous to motorcycles.

• Turn signals on some motorcycles don’t shut off automatically, like in a car. If a biker’s turn signals are on, don’t make any assumptions, and proceed carefully.

Where a small amount of body work can get motorist back on the road in minor automobile accidents, accidents involving motorcycles, no matter the severity, can cause major harm to the motorcyclist. So remember these rules as you share the road with our two wheeled friends.