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Safety Tips for Motorcycle Awareness Month

Spring is in the air and the open road is calling to those who enjoy the air and the road on two wheels! It’s no surprise then, that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month – the time to make sure that enjoying the ride means returning home safely to enjoy many more. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than people in other vehicles so it’s important to avoid the pitfalls that can lead to accidents and injuries. Here are some of the best ways to be prepared:

Always Wear a Helmet. A helmet can be the single 3 pound item that stands between a minor head injury or a major brain injury/fatality. Helmets are about 67 percent effective preventing brain injuries while also being 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths. Look for a helmet with the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. This designation is the manufacturers certification that the helmet meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.

Invest in a Bike with Antilock Brakes. According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those without them. This may be due to the fact that ABS allows the rider to apply maximum barking force without the wheel-lock up that can often prevent the rider from maintaining control of the bike. ABS allows the rider to stop the bike while maintaining steering control. That is a significant risk reduction, with no compromise to the rider, save a slightly higher purchase price.

Hone Your Riding Skills. Motorcycles can differ greatly in handling and responsiveness so take the time to get the proper feel for your bike in a controlled area prior to taking it on the road. Be sure to get a good feel for your bike’s specific braking system as poor braking skills are one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. It’s a great idea to take a course to hone your riding skills such as the one offered by the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program here: http://www.pamsp.com.

Avoid Alcohol. Because the motorcycle leaves so much of the rider unprotected, it is imperative to consider the effects of alcohol on the driver. Motorcyclists rank higher in alcohol related deaths than any other type of motor vehicle driver. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that 46% of all motorcyclists killed in crashes were using alcohol. Having any alcohol in one’s body increases the chances of crashing by five times while have a blood alcohol level of greater than 0.05% increases the risk of crashing by forty-fold.

Be Alert for Weather Conditions. For any vehicle, rain reduces visibility and your tires’ grip on the road. For a motorcycle rider, the combination can be deadly. If you can avoid riding in the rain, do so, but if you must, be aware that the most dangerous time to drive is during the first few minutes of rain as it loosens dirt & oils on the road making it slick.

Protect Yourself in the Event of an Accident. No matter how well-prepared, a motorcyclist can find himself or herself in an accident, Be sure to have the proper insurance to cover your bike and yourself or other passengers if necessary. To find out more about motorcycle insurance, call the friendly professionals at Huntingdon Insurance Group at 215-942-0616.