Motorcyclist urges motorists to keep an eye out for smaller road users

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Being a motorcyclist for 55 years, I'd like to offer a tip to all motorists. While driving -- pulling out on to a street, making a left turn, changing lanes, etc. -- learn to focus on looking for motorcycles and bicycles before making the move. If your mind set is to look for other cars, you could easily miss a smaller object. However, if you train yourself to look for cycles, you'll automatically observe larger vehicles like cars or trucks. Far to many cyclists are being injured or killed due to the fact that people just aren't taking the time to look. Thanks, Elwin Haddix, Ben Lomond A: "It would be great if we could get drivers to be more aware of what is going on around them and to be more conscious of motorcyclists and bicyclists," said Lt. John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department. Hohmann rides motorcycles and bicycles for work and for play. "It is unfortunate that we -- motorcyclists and bicyclists -- must be the ones who need to be more aware and need to constantly plan for worse case scenarios while riding," he said. "The fact is our streets are filled with inexperienced, distracted, and impaired drivers.  Law enforcement can only do so much through education and enforcement. It is crucial that motorcyclists and bicycle riders make eye to eye contact with drivers who are preparing to make turning movements from approaching intersecting roadways. Making eye to eye contact with drivers who are making turning movements, gives some comfort knowing that they see you. If you don't make that eye to eye contact with these drivers, then you should plan that they don't see you. "As much as I like educating drivers, I think it is more important to educate the riders who constantly need to focus on what is happening in front of them," Hohmann continued. "This means scanning 8-10 seconds ahead of them and to strategize or plan an out in those worst case scenarios."
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