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Safety tips for Maryland motorcycle riders and motorists

Warm spring weather will cause Laurel, Maryland, residents to get on their motorcycles and ride the roads. Increased traffic on the streets should remind Marylanders that safety should always come first to avoid motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders and car motorists can benefit from the following safety tips designed to prevent motorcycle crashes.

First, never drive distracted. Distracted driving can result in lack of concentration, which can put everyone on the road at risk of harm. A motorcycle rider has the same rights to the road as other motorists. Thus, cars should not try to share lanes with motorcyclists. Although it seems that a single lane can safely occupy a motorcycle and another motor vehicle at the same time, it can be deceiving. Ample lane room, at least a whole lane's width, should be left for vehicle maneuvering.

Second, check for blind spots and be aware of the position of other vehicles in relation to yours. Motorcycles, being significantly smaller than other vehicles, are prone to hiding in cars' blind spots. Car drivers should therefore frequently check side mirrors, especially when turning or switching lanes, to prevent collision with an undetected motorcycle.

Third, always use signals before changing lanes to warn other motorists. Signaling allows both drivers and riders to slow down and find a safer position in road lanes. It is also important to maintain a safe distance between vehicles. A safe distance can allow better maneuverability to adjust or stop in case of an emergency or when avoiding road hazards. A three or four-second differential between vehicles could be a life saver.

Laurel, Maryland, riders and motorists should bear in mind that many accidents occur because of driver negligence. Observing these commonsense safety tips can prevent negligent driving. But if an accident does happen because of another's negligence, an injured rider might be able to hold that party liable through a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for his or her injuries.

Source: Fort Campbell Courier, "Facts focus on motorcycle safety," Mar. 20, 2014

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