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Motorcycle Safety Tips

Stay alert for motorcycles, as they can be harder to see, even during the day. And be sure to share the road as you do with other motor vehicles because motorcycles have the same rights and privileges on the roadway.

For many motorcyclists, riding is a passion. And just like operating any motor vehicle, it’s a responsibility. Here are safety tips for motorcyclists from the Center for Disease Control and the West Virginia Department of Transportation to help keep you safe as you ride the open road: 

  • Always wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Before taking your bike out, your mind should be clear, and drug-and alcohol-free. If you’ve been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.
  • Don't let friends ride impaired. Take their keys away.
  • Wear protective clothing that provides some level of injury protection. Upper body clothing should also include bright colors or reflective materials, so other motorists can more easily see you. Protective gear includes a good fitting helmet, gloves, eye protection, jacket, long pants, and sturdy boots or shoes.
  • Check the condition of your bike. This includes fixing the parts that break, as well as regular maintenance, such as oil changes, properly-adjusted controls, a properly-adjusted chain and suspension, good tires, working turn signals, and tire pressure. Check out your bike before riding to look for leaks, loose bolts, tire problems, or anything else out of place.
  • Maintain a safe speed and exercise caution when traveling over slippery surfaces or gravel. If you can't see well, slow down. For instance, if you’re traveling in rain or fog, less speed equals more reaction time. This, in turn, which equals safer riding. Curvy forest and mountain roads’ sightlines are shorter; you need to reduce your speed to be prepared for surprises like deer or big rocks.
  • Avoid tailgating. When traveling on a highway, the minimum distance to keep between you and the vehicle in front of you is two seconds, and that’s the distance on a clear sunny day. At night or during inclement weather, you should increase your safety margin to four to eight seconds. To figure your distance correctly, pick a point on the road, like a sign or a seam in the pavement, watch the vehicle ahead of you pass it, and count the seconds it takes you to reach that point. The number of seconds you count is your following distance.
  • Be aware of your position in relation to those around you. Failure to do so can be dangerous if you must change lanes quickly or avoid something in the road. Pay special attention to what's in front of you, especially oncoming traffic. While it's easy to disregard traffic traveling in the opposite direction, that’s where the greatest threat lies.
  • As you slow down for a turn or a stop, be aware of what’s happening behind you. At the moment you begin braking or rolling off the throttle, check your mirrors. If you get in the habit of checking your mirrors every five to seven seconds, and also any time you roll off the throttle, and then gently apply your brakes, rarely will a stop be anything more than routine.

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