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For a motorcyclist, there's no such thing as a small driving mistake

This week, Massachusetts residents welcomed the month of March and, with it, the promise of warmer temperatures. In the coming weeks, the grass will begin to green, flowers will bloom and motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the state will dust off their bikes and prepare to take to the open road. While many motorcyclists argue that there's nothing more freeing or thrilling than traveling down the road on a bike, riding on a motorcycle can also be extremely dangerous.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, during 2014, a total of 328 people died in motor vehicle accidents throughout Massachusetts. Of those reported deaths, 41, or roughly 13 percent, were operating or riding on a motorcycle.

With no reinforced metal frame, crash-impact zones or seat belts to protect riders who are involved in an accident; a motorcyclist's body often serves as the point of impact. Even in cases where a motorcyclist is lucky enough to survive a crash, he or she is likely to suffer painful and debilitating injuries.

As the 2016 motorcycle riding season begins, it's important that both novice and experienced riders alike take time to brush up on safe riding tips.

  • Know your bike - Prior to riding a motorcycle for the first time this spring, take it in for an inspection and tune up
  • Dress appropriately - Wear protective clothing to protect against the elements and any flying debris, boots to protect against engine heat and, most importantly, a helmet
  • Be aware, watchful and vigilant - Know and remain aware of the whereabouts and actions of other motorists
  • Obey traffic laws - Don't speed, drink and drive, tailgate or weave in and out of traffic lanes
  • Practice defense driving - Motorcycles are often difficult for drivers in cars and trucks to see so it's important to always signal lane changes well in advance and to avoid speeding

Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, "QUICK TIPS: General Guidelines For Riding A Motorcycle Safely," March 2, 2016

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