With warmer weather finally here, more than 4 million motorcycle enthusiasts will be dusting off their bike coves and hitting the open road. Due to their size, motorcycles can be overlooked in traffic, often resulting in injury or even death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 54,000 motorcycle injured occur each year, with more than two-thirds of fatal accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle. In 2004 the Michigan State Police cited 3,321 motorcycle crashes due to excessive speedy and alcohol use.
Respecting the rules of the road and knowing your surroundings are important factors in preventing yourself from becoming a statistic, by driving safely and taking the necessary precautions, motorcyclists can enjoy a favorite summer pastime while avoiding injury.
Allstate Insurance Company and NHTSA offer the following safety tips for motorcycle enthusiasts:
* Consider the primary use of your bike.
If you plan to ride on highways, consider a motorcycle that is equipped with tires designed to grip pavement and has a more powerful braking system;
* Give your bike a summer maintenance check from winter storage;
* Check your battery
* Make sure your tires have proper air pressure
* Change your air and oil filters
* Check your brakes, brake fluid and clutch
* Fill your gas tank
* Make sure your lights are in proper working order;
*Always wear a certified motorcycle helmet and eye protection;
* Wear proper shoes, gloves and clothing. Thick, protective garb not only provides comfort against the elements, but also may lessen injury should you be involved in a crash;
* Know the rules of the road;
* Drive the speed limit on highways and local roads
* Be aware of your surroundings, especially at intersections, when changing lanes or when passing other vehicles
* Avoid tailgating
* Do not ride between the lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic
* Maintain a safe distance between vehicles to avoid road hazards and other traffic conditions
* Use signals when appropriate
* Avoid driving in bad weather whenever possible;
* Avoid distractions such as head phones for music;
* Keep your motorcycle insurance up to date. Make sure you are adequately covered in an event of an accident, fire, theft or other losses.
For additional information on motorcycle safety tips or to receive information on other safety topics, call 448-2302.