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How motorcyclists can keep safe on the roads

Many Pennsylvania residents who enjoy riding a motorcycle are probably also very aware of the potential dangers of the activity. Statistics show that when a motorcycle collides with a car, the risk of death for the biker is 30 times higher than for those traveling in the vehicle. Approximately 50 percent of all biker fatalities happen when the biker collides with a vehicle, according to information released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Motorcyclists can take a number of measures to ensure their safety, both before and during their trips. Before riding, an inspection should be made to ensure that the bike's brakes, tire pressure, signals, lights and mechanical parts are in good working order. Underinflated tires, for example, can make a bike harder to handle. The motorcycle's size and horsepower should be suitable to the rider and how the bike will be used. Many motorcycles now even come with antilock brakes. The biker should be wearing protective gear including a DOT certified helmet, brightly colored, durable clothing and eye goggles. Any worn out gear should be replaced for optimal protection. Although Pennsylvania bikers 21 years and older are not required by law to wear a helmet, statistics show that the amount of biker fatalities has increased in states where the helmet law was repealed.

Before entering the roadway, the biker should be aware of incremental weather conditions and drive accordingly. Wet roads and strong winds can affect driving. Since reports show that most motorcyclists are not at fault in the majority of their collisions with automobiles, bikers should try to drive defensively, as well.

Because many motorcycle accidents are caused by motorists who fail to notice the biker, a motorcyclist can be severely injured in a potential collision with a car. In such circumstances, the victim may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Consumer Reports, "10 motorcycle safety tips for new riders", December 22, 2014

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