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Six tips to stay safe on your motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle is the ultimate feeling of freedom. It is you and your motorcycle out on the open road. But that freedom is also dangerous. There simply is just not as much between you and the road or you and another vehicle.

Certain behaviors can help protect you. Below are six ways you can keep yourself safe while riding your motorcycle.

Make yourself visible

Wearing bright colors or reflective strips on your clothing makes you more visible. You do not have to dress completely in neon, but adding some brightly colored gloves or a bandana may get a driver to notice you. You should also your headlights whether it is day or night.

Invest in a safety-rated helmet

Wearing a helmet is important protection during a motorcycle crash. You want a helmet with a sticker that says DOT on it. This guarantees the helmet meets Department of Transportation safety standards. Put simply, a helmet could save your life. According to the National Safety Council, in 2016, 1,876 motorcyclists died in accidents when they were not wearing a helmet.

Wear all the safety gear

You should also wear a jacket, pants, boots and gloves. You may choose leather or synthetic fabric. A lot of motorcycling gear now offers Kevlar patches on your elbows, shoulders, spine and forearms. These are the places you are most likely to land in the event of a crash. You can also buy pants with Kevlar reinforcements. If you are spending a lot of time on your motorcycle, it may be wise to invest in this gear. 

Search for changing conditions

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests you use their strategy: search, evaluate and execute (SEE). In other words, you must stay alert, look for changes in the road conditions and then respond to those changes. You may encounter a pothole in the road, a patch of ice, a driver that hits the brakes or a vehicle sitting still at a green light. There are a lot of hazards to be wary of, so keep your eyes open and give vehicles ample space.

Stay alert at intersections

Accidents are incredibly common at intersections. Watch for vehicles turning left in front of you, and pay extra attention for drivers who may be distracted or fail to stop properly.

Do not imbibe and ride

Drinking and riding a motorcycle is a dangerous combination. Alcohol slows your response time, so you may miss important cues that could prevent a crash. Be careful of any other drugs that may impair your judgment as well, even some over-the-counter medication can leave you feeling drowsy or disoriented.

Riding a motorcycle may be more dangerous than driving a car. It is also more exciting for motorcycle enthusiasts. You can enjoy the thrill of the open road and protect yourself from motorcycle accidents by practicing these safety tips.

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