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4 tips to make driving a motorcycle safer

Motorcycles can be fun to drive. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists are at a significantly increased risk of an accident over vehicle drivers, by almost 30 times. As an individual gets older, it may be even more difficult to stay safe on the road as reflexes slow down, eyesight weakens and bones become brittle. Still, many cling to the excitement and thrill they feel on the back of a bike, and there are ways to drive defensively and make sure you are more visible to motorists on the roadway.

1. Practice your panic game

When you're all alone on the road with the highway before you, it may feel like you don't have a care in the world. Then you hit the freeway or drive through traffic, and you're dodging cars and pedestrians all over the place. How you handle a motorcycle in a stressful, panicked situation is completely different than how you would handle a car, and practicing can train your body to react safely if the need arises.

2. Wear appropriate gear

Flip-flops are completely inappropriate for a motorcycle, as are short-sleeved shirts. Your skin is soft enough that if you are thrown from your bike, the road essentially acts as a grater that hits your skin with tiny, sharp teeth. Wearing the right gear can greatly decrease your risks of serious injury if you are in an accident. This includes thick gloves, jackets, leather chaps and solid motorcycle boots.

Never ride a motorcycle without a helmet to protect your head. While helmet laws are different in every state, research suggests that over 800 lives could be saved each year if motorcyclist were wearing helmets. Simply put, it's not worth the risk to avoid a helmet.

3. Inspect the intersections

Intersections are particularly dangerous to motorcyclists, as drivers often simply don't see the two-wheeler in time to avoid hitting it. If motorists cannot see your bike, they make turn right into or in front of the motorcycle. As you move through an intersection, always be wary even if the light is green and the area seems empty. Prepare for your panic maneuvers and slow down every t ime you reach an crossroads.

4. Stay in the game

It's easy to relax and let your mind wander when you are on a motorcycle, but you need all your focus on the road and the drivers around you to stay defensive and avoid serious accidents. If you're tired, emotional, sick or distracted, leave the bike in the garage.

Even with precautions, accidents can happen. If you take care on the road but the actions of another still lead to a serious injury, you may benefit from discussing your options with an attorney.

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