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Driver behaviors motorcyclists should beware

Many Tennessee motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy riding their bikes during the summer months. In order to receive a motorcycle license, residents of Tennessee are required to pass both a written and on-cycle skills test. While many motorcyclists may know and abide by proper traffic laws, other drivers often pose the greatest risk in causing motorcycle accidents.

Information released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics showed that 5,290 individuals died in motorcycle accidents during 2008. Many of these accidents resulted from collisions with other motor vehicles and were often not the fault of the motorcyclist.

In order to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident, bikers need to remain alert and practice defensive driving techniques. The following represent dangerous driving behaviors that often result in motorcycle accidents.

• Aggressive drivers: Excessive speeding, tail-gating and weaving in and out of traffic are all dangerous driving behaviors that pose extra risks for individuals on motorcycles. Drivers who exhibit aggressive behind-the-wheel behaviors often overestimate their driving abilities and travel at high speeds. These drivers may change lanes without sufficiently checking for motorcycles or be involved in rear collision crashes.

• Distracted drivers: Drivers who are talking or texting on a cellphone, fiddling with the radio or talking to other passengers are often not appropriately directing their focus on the task of driving. Distractions within a motor vehicle can cause drivers to change lanes without looking or signaling and stray across traffic lanes.

• Lost drivers: Drivers who are unfamiliar with a road or highway are often paying more attention to trying to figure out where they are than keeping their eyes on the road. These drivers may make sudden turns and stops as they try to determine where they need to go.

Source: Brighton-Pittsford Post, "Other drivers may be the greatest danger for motorcyclists," August, 2012

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