Lifestyle Guides

Motorbike sense: How to navigate motorcyclists on the road

Both car drivers and motorcyclists use the road, but what are the safest ways to share it?



Because they are a lot more vulnerable and don’t have the similar protection and safety features that car drivers have, motorcyclists face a much bigger danger and threat should they be involved in a traffic crash. In fact, motorcyclists are about 38 times more likely to be killed in road traffic accident than car occupants are per miles driven.

THINK! from the Department of Transport also estimates that approximately 30 motorcyclists are either killed or injured every day at junctions. Even more startling is that even though they only make up 1% of total UK road traffic, bikers account for nearly 19% of all road user deaths.

So how can motorists and motorcyclists practice safe habits while on the road? We’ve put together some useful tips that you should keep in mind the next time you’re driving or riding.

Top tips for sharing the road with a motorcyclist

THINK! has put together some useful tips to remember in the event you encounter motorcyclists:

  • Be on the lookout for motorbikes when you’re driving. Since motorcycles are smaller than most cars, it can be easy to miss them
  • Try to keep your distance – whether they’re an expert or a beginner, driving too close can intimidate any motorcyclist
  • Motorcyclists may pass you on either side unexpectedly, so make sure to double-check both sides should you decide to change lanes or turn. Remember, it is legal for motorbikes to filter between slow or stationary traffic so be sure to allow space when safe to do so. • Just as you should check for motorbikes when you decide to turn or change lanes, be alert for any bikers that might be turning as well

Also, don’t forget to practice safe habits when parking. Before opening your car door, check to see if any motorcyclists are coming towards you. Remember to look out for bikers when you pull away from your parking spot as well.

What can motorcyclists do?

We’ve put together some helpful tips that motorcyclists can follow to keep themselves and others safe while using the roads:

  • Try your best to anticipate the actions of others on the road. This includes cars, lorries, pedestrians and horse riders
  • Keep alert and observant of all of your surroundings
  • If the unexpected happens, slow down and even stop if necessary
  • Keep yourself positioned in the safest and best place to increase your visibility of other drivers and potential hazards
  • Mirror, signal, and manoeuvre: Let all motorists know what your intentions are. If other road users know in advance what you’re looking to do, everyone’s anticipation and avoidance times are increased
  • Glance over your shoulder if you can do so safely before you execute any movements or manoeuvres so you can be sure of where others are and what they are doing

Another important part of motorbike safety includes wearing the appropriate gear during your journey. Should you fall off your bike, tarmac will shred through your jeans easily, which is why having on the correct gear is just as vital as knowing how to ride your motorcycle correctly. We recommend that:

  • Motorcyclists should wear bright or even florescent gear during the day and gear that is reflective should you be on the roads at dusk, dawn or at night
  • You should also make sure you have on protective gloves, jackets and trousers
  • Don’t forget that choosing a proper helmet can also help save your life – you can find out more about which helmet is right for you on SHARP’s website. Remember that helmets that have any damage from a fall or a previous accident need to be replaced.