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Tips for staying safe on your motorcycle

Summer is fast approaching, and one of the best ways to get outdoors is on a motorcycle. A weekend ride is a fantastic chance to enjoy the scenery and explore new places, but motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars.

On average, about 5,000 people a year are killed in motorcycle crashes, and motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to be killed in an accident than occupants of passenger vehicles. Though it’s impossible to avoid all hazardous situations, being prepared and following some tips can keep you and your loved ones safer.

Gear up

One of the most important things you can do before ever getting on your bike is investing in the right gear. Even in the summer, wear a leather or reinforced jacket, specially designed pants, over-the-ankle footwear, eye protection and, most importantly, a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.

Nearly 40 percent of the people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017 were not wearing helmets. A good helmet is the best chance you have of surviving a crash.

Ride in the sunshine

When you can, avoid riding your motorcycle in the rain or at night. Bad weather and poor visibility reduce the amount reaction time to hazards in the road and other drivers. Slippery conditions also reduce your bike’s grip on the road surface, making turns and other maneuvers increasingly difficult.

Ride the proper equipment

Get a bike that fits your body and your skill level. Your feet should rest flat on the ground, and handlebars should be easy to reach.

Invest in a motorcycle with antilock brakes (ABS). Bikes with ABS were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash, and you’re less likely to skid out of control and injure yourself.

Stay sober

Motorcyclist involved in fatal crashes were more likely to be impaired by alcohol than other types of motor-vehicle drivers. Alcohol slows reaction time and dulls the skills needed to successfully control a bike.

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