Operating a motorcycle involves different skills than driving a car. They’re far less stable on the highway and less visible to other drivers. The openness of the vehicle itself also makes motorcyclists far more susceptible to injury and vulnerable to conditions than other drivers. In fact, it’s estimated that motorcyclists are about “28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash.” In 2016 alone, more than 5,000 people died as a result of a motorcycle crash. With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to see how important it is to take every precaution possible when riding a motorcycle.

Stay alert

So many factors can contribute to motorcycle crashes, and some are probably not even the motorcyclists fault. The unsafe actions of other drivers can contribute to accidents on the road, so it’s important to stay alert and focused. Alcohol is another huge factor, both for drivers of cars and motorcycles. In 2013, it was reported that 28 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved alcohol. The point is that a lot of accidents can be prevented if you’ll remain alert, staying away from mind-altering substances, and paying attention to your surroundings.

Wear a helmet at all times

Many fatalities can be prevented by wearing motorcycle helmets. While they don’t necessarily prevent accidents, it’s estimated that helmets reduce the risk of death in a crash by 37 percent. Unfortunately, though, many states don’t have sufficient helmet laws. Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all their riders to wear helmets. 28 states have laws that require some riders (usually minors) to wear helmets. And three states don’t have any helmet laws at all.

Wear protective gear

In addition to helmets, there are other forms of gear that motorcyclists should always wear. Leather jackets and chaps are more than just cool biker accessories. They’re actually designed to keep riders safe from injury. Leather is much thicker and more durable than other fabrics. So, should you come in contact with the pavement beneath you, you have a strong layer of protection for your body.

Avoid bad weather

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to their surroundings than those in enclosed vehicles. Their bikes are also less stable, making slick surfaces a lot more dangerous. A safe recreational driver usually only rides in ideal weather conditions, but if you must drive in bad weather, you should know how to do it safely. Study up on the type of weather most common to your area or areas where you might be travelling. For example, rain is never the best weather for riding a motorcycle, but if you have to travel in it, take some precautions. For one thing, make sure you have good tires. Some handle wet conditions better than others, so ask your dealer for the best ones. Also, drive as slowly as possible so that you never have to slam on your brakes. Braking too quickly could cause you to skid and even lose control.

Be mindful of other drivers

Many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. Unfortunately, motorcycles are less visible on the road than cars, so it’s easy to shift lanes and cause a collision. But there can also be other factors involved. For example, texting or impaired driving is a common distraction. These factors can cause accidents, injuries, and fatalities. While you can avoid a lot of mishaps by paying close attention to your surroundings, some are inevitable. In these cases, if you feel your accident was due to negligence by another party, it’s important to take action immediately. You or your loved ones will need to contact a motorcycle accident attorney to make sure your medical and property damage expenses are covered. Even if you were at fault, a skilled lawyer can give you peace of mind in case you face a lawsuit.

Motorcycles are loved by those who enjoy thrill, but it is important to practice safe riding. By staying alert, wearing protective gear, and avoiding riding while inclement weather, you will be in a better position to enjoy a safe ride. If you happen to get into an accident, be sure to stay calm and to contact the authorities for a report to be filed. If you choose to consult with a motorcyle attorney — especially if the accident was not your fault — a report filed by a third party can prove to be extremely valuable in setting your case.

Author's Bio: 

A freelance writer with a BA in English from Sarah Lawrence College.