When it comes to road safety, tailgating is a risky behavior that poses significant dangers for all motorists. For motorcycle riders, however, the risks are even higher due to their vulnerability on the road. Motorcycle riders and motorists of all types can keep the road safer by exploring why tailgating is particularly dangerous around motorcycles.
One of the main factors that make tailgating particularly perilous for motorcycle riders is the lack of protection. Unlike car drivers who are relatively safe within a vehicle, motorcycles expose their riders to the elements. When a car tailgates a motorcycle, there is very little room for error.
Motorcycles tend to have a shorter braking distance compared to cars. When a car tailgates a motorcycle, the motorcyclist may need to brake suddenly to avoid a collision or navigate through traffic. If the car behind them is too close, it can be difficult for the driver to stop in time.
Tailgating can also create wind turbulence, which can be particularly hazardous for motorcycle riders. When a car follows too closely behind a motorcycle, it disrupts the flow of air around the bike. This turbulence can destabilize the motorcycle and make it harder for the rider to maintain control.
Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars, especially from a close distance. When a car tailgates a motorcycle, it can obscure the rider from the view of other drivers. This increases the chances of a collision when changing lanes or making turns. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 6,084 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2021. While this figure stems from a wide range of circumstances, negligence and reckless driving both contribute greatly to the number of motorcycle fatalities each year.