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With summer here, drivers need to be on guard for motorcyclists

As many residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, know, summer is a time where drivers see many motorcyclists on the road. While those who ride motorcycles are still expected to follow traffic laws, other drivers are also legally expected to use appropriate caution around motorcycles. Especially given the fact that motorcycle riders do not have a lot of protection, a driver's not being careful can cause motorcycle accidents that lead to serious injuries.

One of the keys to motorcycle safety is to have the right attitude about sharing the road with them. While it is easy for the driver of a car to use the size of its vehicle to intimidate or even crowd out a motorcycle, it is important that a driver resist that urge. Moreover, as in all cases, drivers need to drive defensively around motorcyclists who may not be doing the best job of following the traffic laws or operating safely.

It is also important to make sure motorcyclists have plenty of maneuvering room at all times. This means other drivers should give motorcyclists some extra following distance and give plenty of berth when passing. On a related point, a driver should not attempt a quick right turn after passing a motorcycle.

What might not be so obvious to drivers is that a motorcyclist will often not use his or her brakes to slow down, but will instead opt to downshift to a lower gear, which makes the vehicle slow more gradually. This means drivers need to remember that, for motorcycles, no brake light does not mean the motorcycle is maintaining its speed.

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