Riding a motorcycle in traffic can already seem like a dangerous proposition. Unfortunately, adding construction debris, lane shifts, merges and speed changes into the ride only makes things worse. How can a rider stay safe in a work zone?

Riders must remain vigilant in observing their surroundings and generally follow three main safety tips:

  • Read and follow road signs: From noting changing speeds to lane merges, riders must be aware of the changing traffic pattern. Unfortunately, they must also observe the other vehicles around them. Cars and trucks might see a merge warning too late and quickly jerk the wheel, putting the rider in danger. By watching the vehicles around them, motorcycle riders can recognize and avoid hazards.
  • Increase your stopping distance: Many elements of casual advice can be boiled down to “treat a work zone as if it is poor weather.” From riding through a heavy rain to riding in the fog, riders will instinctively reduce their speed and increase their follow distance.
  • Avoid distractions: While this is always good advice, in a work zone, the advice is even more important. From eating or drinking to talking on the phone, riding distractions can creep up and pull an individual’s focus from the road. In a work zone, lanes can switch, and surface hazards can appear in an instant.

There are numerous recommendations that engineers can follow when designing a work zone to ensure the motorcycle riders and other motorists remain safe, including:

  • Monitoring degradations in pavement surface quality
  • Monitoring degradations in pavement friction
  • Reducing abrupt elevation changes from surface to surface
  • Monitoring changes in roadway geometry

Many of these recommendations can be accomplished through proper planning, proper signage and proper cleanup of debris including loose gravel and dirt.

Motorcycle riders can suffer severe injuries in vehicle collisions or collisions with stationary objects. Brain damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and road rash can cause lasting disabling conditions. It is crucial to stay safe during any length of commute on any type of road surface.