When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle: Things to Keep in Mind

There are several dangers from weather conditions to other road users when traveling behind a motorcycle. Often, drivers behind or nearby get hurt when someone follows a bike. Moreover, one of the biggest fears most people have is the risk of a collision. Most Importantly, other drivers often don’t know how to handle these vehicles. However, get to know some precautions to take to ensure the most significant safety. This blog will discuss some of the things you can do. Also, we will explain the typical accidents that happen when following a motorcycle.

Things to Keep in Mind When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle:

  • Follow a Safe Distance.
  • Pass a motorcycle with signals.
  • Use High Beam Lights Efficiently.
  • Judge the distance of a bike by comparison.

Now, let’s discuss these topics in detail.

Follow a Safe Distance When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle

Traveling Behind A Motorcycle

When driving in heavy traffic, you should stay close behind other cars. If you do this, you will create less traffic and make less pollution from your car’s tailpipe.

But when driving behind a motorcycle, you should keep a following distance of at least 100 meters or more. It is because motorcycles are fast, and they brake quickly. If you hold as much distance as possible, you can avoid hitting a bike. A majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by cars these days. The main reason for such crashes is driving behind motorcycles or other vehicles.

Be extra careful when following a motorcycle in your car. As long as it is in normal driving condition, try crossing the bike, ensuring the rider has noticed you. Even if the rider does not look and act as if they will crash into something, you must leave enough space for them.

It makes sense because motorcycles follow that dangerous rule called “use all the road.” Motorcycles are very fast under normal conditions, and you can hit a bike at any point on the road.

Suppose your car rides faster than 100 km/h, then you should also do this at least 50 meters in front of another vehicle or two motorcycles that travel together. If someone brakes suddenly to avoid hitting a bike, their tires will likely scrape against other cars for assistance. So, make sure everything you do is happening smoothly.

Pass a Motorcycle with Signals

Pass A Motorcycle With Signals

If a motorbike pulls up next to you when driving in the car, check your mirrors first before putting on your turn signal. Make sure the other vehicles surrounding you won’t get confused. Don’t be late or make yourself an easy target for passing motorists— Signal before changing lanes, merging into traffic, and lane changes with a motorcycle. Hand signals and vehicle signals are, at the same time, the most crucial part. Also, it is one of the top 3 reasons motorcycles crash.

Check this article for the correct use of signals: Motorcycle Hand Signals to Other Drivers.

In many states, drivers have specific responsibilities when passing motorcycles. Keep the following in mind:

Make your intentions apparent – let them know where they can expect gaps in traffic or speeds of closing vehicles before traveling into your lane. If it is not safe and legal (as determined by local law), move over.

Address any other concerns – e.g., weather, road construction/fatigue, shifting lanes quickly, etc. In these cases, we need to take extra precautions. As a result, if we need to stop, we can alert others by saying, ‘Passing on your right.’ Suppose you are driving behind a motorcycle and want to pass or slow down or speed up again (which could be confusing); use signals efficiently.

Don’t tailgate the motorcycle – let them pull out into traffic to change sides of traffic. It’s also vital to maintain their safety following distance and space.

Don’t flagrantly cut people off – This might appear aggressive but is possible as a way for the driver to show contempt towards motorcycles. It also makes it more difficult for motorcycle riders to recognize that traffic will quickly move over them. Moreover, they can’t expect someone will be cutting through their space when they need to yield (e.g., at an intersection). Suppose, On long stretches of the highway, you are behind several vehicles in a four or five-lane section with speed limits above 65 mph. In that case, Remember to assume motorcycles could be in that space ahead and pull over well. Remember, Motorbikes can appear at the two lanes merging into only one lane on a short stretch of highway.

Use High Beam Lights Efficiently

High Beam Lights

Ensure that your vehicle is always visible. Your bright lights and reflectors are not just a courtesy. They serve to demonstrate you belong in the lanes of traffic. Suppose it takes more than one car length for drivers to see you there (instead of being behind them). In that case, drivers behind must be cautious as they approach intersections. In such cases, control over roadways will soon whittle down their visibility – e.g., The left turn lane into a busy intersection. It would help if you used high beam lights at the perfect time. Wrongly using lights can even make things worse for the motorcyclist in front and violate rules on the road.

The same advice also applies to motorcyclists: Don’t ride in the lane of cars turning at intersections or attempting to move into an adjacent lane. A motorcycle can also wait for a long time behind cars and trucks when turning, as many drivers will hesitate before they do so.

These rules are also vital for the motorcycle road knowledge test when you want to get a license. If you don’t abide by the road rules correctly, you can get fined!

Typical Accidents That Happen When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle

An accident is not a nightmare after taking all the precautions ideally. Let’s take a look at the type of crashes a driver behind a motorbike may face:

Rear-end vehicle collision

Rear-end vehicle collision when drivers follow too closely. Motorcycles with twin sets of headlights usually cause rear-end vehicle collisions. It is a severe accident because both drivers could get injured with minor bumps or bruises (if they aren’t wearing their helmets). However, if there was damage to either of their vehicles – you will be able to seek insurance for what happened that day. In the case of motorcyclists, they can expect to have minor injuries only, and their motorcycle may have slight issues like motorcycle cranks but won’t start.

Drivers always have to be extra careful not to come close to a motorcycle. And as a result, then hit it on the passenger’s side tires or the right side mirror. Make sure that you’ll do well enough by following another car at a safe distance. When riders come behind one another, they could risk crashing down their motorcycles if they don’t do well enough. So, drive well with understanding the reality of your surroundings and even stop if you get confused.

Lane Switching Crashes When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle

It is one of the most seen crash types. A motorbike will try to merge into your lane in such a scenario. The fact is: Without looking to the left or right, you will have a clear view of the road ahead. Yet it is difficult for most motorcyclists to see another rider emerging from their blind spot on such an approaching vehicle in time. And It is a fatal mistake motorcyclists may make when traveling behind a motorcycle.

Such collisions usually result in significant damage and serious injuries, sometimes death. Medical attention provided by rescue services nearby has to be fast. A traveling vehicle driver behind has to make sure the vehicle in front is aware of his. You can use daylights or high beams and horns to alert. In such reported incidents, motorcyclists usually suffer more damage.

Head-on Collisions When Traveling Behind a Motorcycle

This crash type happens when a motorbike and another vehicle crash head-on. Typically, in this scenario, one bike will be coming from the other direction of the road.

The motorbike will be passing the other vehicle instead of merging into the other car’s lane at the point where the other vehicle is already integrating. We can avoid this crash type if the motorbike rider knows where to merge into the route of the other car. Such crashes are unfortunately not avoidable. You can’t control motorcycle behaviors when they are unaware.


A: Your following distance should at least be 100m when following behind a motorcycle. But it is not a universal obligation. The distance that you have to keep depends on traffic mostly. In heavy traffic, even a 30m distance is average. But in light traffic, vehicles go faster. Therefore, keep the distance 100m or more.

A: You should say "by your leave" to the motorcyclist if you have time. If you can stop safely, you should stop and let the motorcyclist pass. If you can't stop, you should signal the motorcyclist that you have no room to move aside.

A: You can only judge the distance of a motorcycle by looking at it compared to other vehicles in front of you and behind it. If the bike is coming straight at you, keep an eye on its headlight beam, which will guide you back to it. The matter is all about assumption. The more you experience driving, the better will you be able to assume distance.