Rear traffic is almost as important to the motorcycle rider as traffic ahead. Good riders check their mirrors every few seconds to keep track of traffic coming from behind. You should have a good picture in your mind of what is back there so you won’t be caught off guard when somebody passes you, and so you can safely and quickly stop or swerve if an emergency develops up front.
Mirror checks are especially important in these situations:
- When you have to slow down or stop suddenly. There may be someone behind you.
- When you are stopped at an intersection.
In both situations, if the driver behind you isn’t paying attention, he or she could be right on top of you before he or she notices you are there. You have to be prepared to get out of the way.
- Any time you turn. Watch cars behind you, especially if you plan to slow down and turn where others may not expect it, such as into alleys, driveways and side streets.
Again, the driver behind you may not see you or may not slow down. It may be better to not turn, and to continue on.
- Any time you change lanes; make sure no one is about to pass you.
Many motorcycles have convex mirrors. They give a wider view of the road behind them than flat mirrors. However, they also make cars seem farther away than they really are. If you are not used to convex mirrors, try this: while you are stopped, pick out a parked car in your mirror. Try to form a mental image of how far away it is. Then turn around and look at it. See how close you came. Practise this until you become a good judge of distance. Even then, allow extra distance before you change lanes.