Tips to stay safe in motorcycle season

General Douglas MacArthur famously said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." Sadly, the same cannot be said for motorcycle riders in Ohio. Their numbers fade away during the off-season, but when the weather warms up, they're back in spades. We are in that time of year again. Are you ready?

While motorcyclists and closed vehicle drivers share an equal duty of care on the road, the reality is that motorcyclists have to exercise extra caution. The data shows that car and truck drivers often don't see motorcyclists, so riders have to watch out for themselves. If struck while riding, they face a greater risk of serious injury or death.

Staying safe starts before each ride

If you feel you have been hearing a lot about motorcycling safety lately, it is no accident. All during May, leaders in the traffic safety arena have been pushing the Ride SMART safety campaign around the state. The campaigns key message is that we all play a critical role in keeping each other safe.

That said here are some basic steps that most experts agree motorcyclists can follow to improve their riding wellbeing.

  • Do a preride inspection. Private plane pilots don't take off without making sure their craft is in proper working order. Motorcyclists should do the same, checking their tires, belts, brakes and fluids.
  • Dress for the occasion. Ohio doesn't require that all riders and passengers wear helmets. Experts say they should anyway. In fact, they recommend protective wear that covers the whole body.
  • Practice situational awareness. Just because you know and obey the law doesn't mean everyone else will. Get in the habit of checking the space around you and making adjustments so you have room and time to react to the unexpected.

One thing all drivers can do before taking to the road is to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage. If all you have is the minimum required by the state, it might not be enough to cover the full cost if you suffer a loss due to an accident.

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