May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Reader Contribution by Farmers Insurance
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Since motorcyclists accounted for approximately 13 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2015, safety should be on the minds of all riders regardless of experience or type of bike. In fact, collision with other vehicles is the most common cause of motorcycle claims at Farmers Insurance, and accounted for 78 percent of all motorcycle claims filed with the insurer group between 2014 and 2016. Below are some tips from Farmers Insurance to help riders minimize the possibility of an accident on the road:

Safety first. Riders can help decrease the chances of an accident before they even get on the bike by performing a motorcycle safety check. A proper safety check means taking a walk around the bike to check for safety issues, measuring the tire pressure and checking for tire cracks, ensuring the blinkers are functional and unobstructed, and adjusting the mirrors properly.
Stay focused, stay safe. The pre-ride safety check is the time to make any adjustments—not when a rider is already on the bike. Adjusting a mirror mid-ride may seem harmless, but anything that distracts a rider from the road could prove disastrous. This goes for cell phones or other electronics, too, which should always remain in a saddle bag any time the bike is in use.
Pick the right helmet. It should go without saying, but safety gear is incredibly important for riders. All helmets should be Department of Transportation-compliant, which riders can easily identify by looking for the DOT/Snell sticker on the inside or outside of the helmet or visiting
Get bulky. Always opt for more coverage when picking safety gear, like pants instead of shorts and riding boots over basic close-toed shoes. Riders should make sure their gear is in good shape before getting on the bike.
Be ready for anything. Riders should keep their motorcycle in gear when stopped on a road way so that they can easily and quickly move out of the way of any sudden traffic problems.
Make yourself seen. Consider wearing bright or reflective clothing when riding to make yourself stand out to other motorists. Riders should also flash their headlight hi-beams when approaching an intersection to help them be seen by other nearby traffic. When stopped on the road and being approached by other traffic from the rear, riders can flash their brake lights by rapidly using one of the brake levers to help prevent being rear-ended.
Keep friends close but not too close. When riding with a group, never ride side-by-side. Always ride in a staggered position to allow for movement in case an accident occurs with another rider.
Pick a lane side. Avoid driving in the center of a lane. Cars and trucks commonly lose oil from the engine and transmissions, which are often in the center of a vehicle and thus deposit oil in the middle of lanes. This makes it more difficult to maintain traction when driving on this part of the lane. At night, try to ride behind a car and in the same path as its left or right side tires. A rider can use the extra light from the car’s lights to help see and will also have a better chance of avoiding contact with road debris if they follow in the car’s tires paths.

Source: Farmers Insurance/Communications Strategy Group

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