Safe Following for Motorcycle Riders

Following (and being followed) while riding your motorcycle requires skill and care. Far too many riders are injured or killed because they were either tailgating or another motorist was riding on their tail. Always maintain a safe distance between yourself and the vehicles ahead and behind you while riding, so that you have the time and space required to react to the unexpected and respond appropriately.

The two-second rule for following on a motorcycle

The rule is simple: always maintain a cushion of at least two seconds between yourself and the car or truck ahead of you. At this rate, you should have enough time to react if the vehicle ahead of you stops or swerves without warning. Here’s how to clock the two seconds:

  • Looking ahead, choose a landmark (e.g., a mile marker or light pole)
  • Once you see the rear of the car ahead of you pass that marker, begin counting the seconds it takes for you to reach the same landmark
    • If you reach it two or more seconds later, you are following at a safe distance
    • If you reach it in under two seconds, slow down

If the vehicle ahead of you is larger, such as an 18-wheeled truck, you should extend your cushion to three or more seconds to avoid an accident if the driver stops suddenly. It’s also a good idea to extend the two-second rule to three or more if adverse road or weather conditions will make it even harder for you to suddenly stop or shift lanes.

Stopping your motorcycle behind another vehicle

Don’t crowd the driver stopped at a red light or in traffic ahead of you. Otherwise, if that vehicle suddenly backs up, you won’t have enough space to maneuver and avoid being hit. Also, if the driver behind you isn’t paying attention, it gives you room to zoom forward instead of being rear-ended.

Avoid being tailgated on a motorcycle

Tailgating presents a danger to any motorist, but especially to motorcycle riders. Being struck from behind could launch you off your bike and onto the roadway, resulting in severe injuries or worse. The best way to handle the situation is simply to let the larger vehicle pass you. However, that’s not always an option, especially in heavy traffic. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, don’t speed up – slow down instead to increase the distance between yourself and the motorist ahead of you. This will give you an extra safety cushion in case that vehicle suddenly stops, providing both you and the tailgater with more time to react and reduce your risk of being struck from behind. Slowing down should also encourage the driver behind you to get off your tail by either slowing down or changing lanes.

When you need a motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles

As a responsible motorcyclist, you do what you can to keep yourself safe when sharing the road with other motorists. Unfortunately, not every driver is as responsible or considerate. If someone caused a motorcycle accident in which you were injured, you have legal options for seeking compensation. Contact Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer Scott J. Corwin at (310) 683-2300 to schedule an appointment today.