Rear-enders are the most common form of accident for motorcycles, but there are things you can do to prevent them including lane filtering where it’s legal.
Lane-filtering is proven to prevent a lot of those rear-enders and thankfully more and more states and jurisdictions in Australia and around the world are introducing lane-filtering.
But until all governments wake up to the practicality and safety of lane-filtering, motorcycle riders should take their own preventative measures to ensure they do not become another rear-ender statistic thanks to distracted drivers.
Remember, if you get rear-ended at the traffic lights on your motorcycle and you run into the back of the vehicle in front, you are liable for the damage you cause to that vehicle and may even cop a traffic offence. It seems unjust, but that’s what happens. You must leave a big enough gap between you and the vehicle in front.
Here are five tips to prevent being rear-ended:
- As you slow down for traffic lights or in slow-moving commuter traffic, try to attract the attention of the driver behind you by slightly weaving in your lane and dabbing at the brakes so your brake lights flash on and off. A lot of riders do their slowing down with gears and don’t activate the brake lights until the last second, so think about riding the rear brake lightly just to activate the light. You can also fit auxiliary brake lights to your bike or install brighter bulbs. Always check your brake lights are working before leaving home.
- When you stop, leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. As stated earlier, if you get shunted into the vehicle in front you are liable for the damage you cause. If you are sitting right on the bumper of the vehicle in front you will not have enough space to manoeuvre out and around the car if required in an emergency.
- Always check your mirrors as you slow down to see if the vehicle behind you is also slowing. While waiting at the lights or in a traffic queue, it’s an idea to keep a check on what’s happening behind you. Make sure your mirrors are clean.
- Stay in gear in case you need to suddenly accelerate out of harm’s way. It doesn’t burn the clutch to leave it engaged for the duration of a change of lights. Keep your right foot on the brake and your bike in first gear.
- Look for an escape route. Either pull over to the left or right wheel track and scan where you would head if you suddenly had to escape a distracted vehicle behind you. It’s probably better to undertake the stopped vehicle in front or slip between lanes rather than going out and around the vehicle into oncoming traffic.