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Tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents

"Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars." No kidding! Bikers fly through Texas on Interstate 10 all the time, and motorists in passenger vehicles as well as semitruck drivers have to be paying close attention to notice them. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reminds drivers of the above fact, and since motorcycles are smaller than cars and they travel on just two wheels, their lower stability and visibility levels are not surprising. What is surprising - scary even - is the fatality factor. The IIHS notes "in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars." 

Part of the reason for the startling statistic is the lack of protection motorcycles provide for their riders. Another is the serious risk of head injury, even for bikers wearing helmets. The danger is real. 

So what are bikers to do? Give up their favorite pastime? Not necessarily.

Consumer Reports offers advice for avid motorcyclists, hoping to encourage safe riding practices. Routine safety checks are a no-brainer. Consumer Reports says to "do a quick walk-around' before every single ride. Check your lights and signals. Be sure the tires are in good shape, the brakes are working and the lights are doing their job. 

Also, pay attention to the road, especially since "a motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car." This means slick pavement, potholes and debris on the highway can cause a bike to slide when a car would just cruise right over it.

Other suggestions Consumer Reports makes:

  • "Invest in antilock brakes"- you may want to save money, but this is not the way to do it. Make the investment.
  • Dress appropriately for your safety, including a helmet, eye protection and leather pants. Bright colors are advisable.
  • Drive smart and defensively. Motorists do not always see you, so do your part to stay out of their blind spots.

Finally, only ride on a bike you can handle well, and hone your skills. Stay safe out there!

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