This June 17 marks the 28th Annual International Motorcycle and Scooter Ride to Work Day.
Its organizers encourage every commuter who owns a two-wheeled motor vehicle to ride it to work that day.
Since 1992, the event has reminded us that, in the view of organizers, two wheels are better than four when it comes to fuel efficiency, commuter economics, parking, congestion and more.
Eyes on the bikes
June 17 seems unlikely to inspire many to forever abandon their cars but the effort to “start seeing motorcycles,” as the familiar black-and-yellow bumper stickers say, never ends.
Reminding four-wheelers to keep their eyes and brains attuned to motorcycles may remain a constant and repetitive task forever, or perhaps until everyone has a driverless car. They will never miss a thing, one hopes.
If you don’t own a motorcycle or scooter, you can still celebrate Ride to Work Day on June 17 by using it to practice noticing bikers from behind the wheel.
Here are some tips to keep in mind, primarily courtesy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
You need to look for bikers
Motorcycles are small and easily lost in your car’s blind spots and behind objects in the environment. Also, our eyes tend to misread a biker’s distance and speed.
Give them room and don’t assume
When bikers must move around in their lanes, they’re probably not trying to block you from or invite you into their lane. They’re probably avoiding potholes and debris and adjusting for wind and airflow from other vehicles.
Bikes can’t just stop, because breaking too fast can dump the rider. They often downshift or down-throttle instead, which won’t flash their brake lights.
Most motorcyclists aren’t stunt drivers. Sure, bikes are good at maneuvering, but the tricks in movies are only tricks. Real bikers can’t always handle surprises at high speeds and in less-than-perfect road conditions.
Bikers aren’t usually at fault
The fault for motorcycle accidents isn’t usually the biker’s. According to MSF, most bike crashes are multivehicle and caused by the other driver’s actions.
See the person not the bike
Think of motorcycles as a chance to remember that you share the road with human beings. Motorcycle accident injuries are often more severe than those from car crashes, so the family and friends of motorcyclists are counting on you.