How can a motorcyclist reduce the chances of an accident?

Motorcyclists have as much right to use Maryland's roads and highways as anyone else. Unfortunately some drivers seem to forget this, and don't keep a lookout for motorcycles. All too often a distracted driver causes a motorcycle accident, with serious injuries or even death for the motorcyclist.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has published a list of safety guidelines to help riders avoid motorcycle crashes. Not surprisingly, a number of the guidelines focus on visibility. The MSF recommends riders wear a light-colored helmet and bright clothing. Strips of reflective tape on the bike and the rider's clothing will make the rider easier to see at night. Riders should keep the headlight on, even in the daytime, and be sure it is in working order at all times.

The MSF advises motorcyclists to always imagine they are invisible, and ride accordingly. Defensive riding includes always being aware of one's surroundings and the positions and movements of other vehicles. Riders should ride in the part of the lane where they can be seen most easily. A motorcyclist should always be aware of other vehicles' blind spots and avoid them as much as possible.

When a bike goes down, often the only thing between the rider and the pavement is the rider's clothing. Long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, and gloves will leave as little skin exposed as possible. Leather or other strong, thick materials will reduce the chance of severe abrasions. Helmets are recommended to avoid serious head injury. Boots that go over the ankle can also reduce the risk of injury.

When a motorcycle rider is injured by another driver's negligence, the motorcyclist has the right to sue that driver and recover compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. Consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help riders understand their rights.

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