Motorcycles – What Are They and How Do You Safely Interact With Them?


Motorcycles are two-wheeled motor vehicles steered by a handlebar from a saddle-style seat. The power for a motorcycle is generated by a gasoline engine that converts reciprocating motion into rotary motion and propels the rear wheel. This is similar to how the engine of a car works. The rider controls the bike by leaning to one side or the other, with the help of a steering wheel or handlebars.

In recent years, the popularity of a growing variety of small lightweight motorcycles has spurred a new generation of riders. Discounted tolls, free parking in non-car spaces and triple-digit gas mileage all have helped encourage more young people to give riding a try. And, with the surge of adult-sized small-displacement motorcycles that offer niceties like ABS brakes and fuel injection, perspective new riders suddenly find themselves no longer limited to large and outdated used bikes or wheezing 49cc scooters that couldn’t keep up on a highway.

As this younger, more diverse group of motorcycle riders continues to grow in number, it’s important that all motorists understand how to safely interact with them. A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents involve cars, and the majority of those are caused by drivers not seeing or recognizing the presence of the rider. The best way to avoid these collisions is by being visible, wearing a helmet and protective gear, taking a Defensive Driving course and planning ahead for any trip you may be making that requires you to be on a motorcycle.