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Arrive alive: Safety tips for riding motorcycles

Motorcycles are a lot of fun. You are riding a vehicle that doesn't leave you so isolated from your environment, typically is more responsive than a car and uses less gas. And last but not least: You look cool! But the unfortunate tradeoff is that it can be a dangerous or deadly proposition if you get into an accident.

The smartphone era is a dangerous one for those who ride motorcycles. It's nice to call for help if you have a breakdown, but generally speaking, drivers in cars and trucks today are more distracted than ever by their devices. Motorcycle riders must be more vigilant than ever, but even then there are situations beyond your control that can lead to an accident.

Nothing good happens when you hit the pavement at 60 mph. Even if you are wearing a DOT-approved helmet and proper clothes that cover your skin, it is likely that you get a second ride in an ambulance or possibly a helicopter. It doesn't matter if you are riding a high performance bike, a vintage Harley or European-style scooter. While you can't control of the actions of your fellow drivers, you can take steps with your own driving to raise the odds of arriving safely.

Here are 4 safety tips for preventing a motorcycle accident and/or injury:

    1. Make sure the people you share the road with can see you. This includes wearing bright colored clothing, not riding in other drivers' blind spots as well as being cautious with blind corners and intersections with limited visibility.

      2. Follow the traffic laws and be courteous to your fellow motorists. Drive defensively and don't employ aggressive maneuvers. Generally follow the rules of the road and act as a good-will ambassador for your fellow riders.

        3. Practice makes perfect. Develop good technical skills on your bike so you can safely react to situations on the road. Go to an empty parking lot and practice quick stops, tight turns and other maneuvers.

          4. Sign up for the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program. Designed for riders of all skill levels, this class is ideal for those looking to learn how to ride, those who need a refresher and those who ride regularly. A helpful tip: You don't need to take the motorcycle license test if you take this course.

          Unfortunately these tips don't guarantee that you or your loved one will arrive safely. If you do get into a serious accident where you are injured, it's always a good idea to contact an attorney. They will be the best judge as to whether you have a good chance to resolve the case if there is personal injury or property damage, either of which your insurance may only cover part of the cost.

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