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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May - and during the rest of the year - drivers of all other vehicles and all road users are reminded to safely "share the road" with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

Riding a motorcycle doesn’t mean you have to constantly think about cheating death. While they are inherently less safe than cars and trucks, there are several things that can be done to make them as safe as they possibly can be.

Protect your head. This is most important thing you can do when riding a motorcycle is to strap on a helmet. Helmets are designed to protect your head. Injuries to the head are typically what kill motorcycle riders in a crash. Look for helmets that are approved by the Department of Transportation as they meet and often exceed minimum safety standards.

Make sure that the helmet fits properly. A full-fact helmet is the safest option, but any approved helmet is better than none. If you ignore every motorcycle safety tip there is…don’t ignore this one.

Get appropriate gear. Bikers don’t wear lots of leather to look tough. They wear it because it offers the most protection in an accident. If you can’t afford leather gear, at least wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when riding. Having your skin covered may not protect you if you get in an accident, but they can reduce the sting if you get hit by a rock or insect.

Keep a lookout. This tip is aimed at people behind the wheel of vehicles. Always keep an eye out for motorcycles. Two-wheeled vehicles are small and can be difficult to see. Look twice and keep your ears open. Check your blind spot before you change lanes, look again before you cross an intersection, and take an extra second to roll down your window to be sure you don’t hear the loud exhaust of a bike.

Take a Safety Course. Don’t skip out on an approved safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is a well-known nonprofit organization that offers motorcycle safety courses to both beginning and experienced riders. The MSF works alongside the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) to improve motorcycle safety and motorcycle licensing procedures. The experienced instructors can give you tips on maintenance and more. Even better, once you graduate from a motorcycle safety course, you can call your insurance agent and ask about any discounts that are available.

Teach Your Passengers. One of the best things about having a bike is the ability to give someone a ride. Keeping your passenger safe is as much your responsibility as it is theirs. If your passenger has never ridden on a motorcycle before, take the time to teach them about safety. If you have never driven with a passenger on the back of your bike, don’t assume that it is the same as riding alone. Take your passenger to a parking lot and practice driving. Get a feel for how the bike handles with the extra weight.

Let’s all work together and learn to share the road to keep all motorists safe!









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