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Bikers remind to use caution during safety month

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POSTED: May 14, 2010 9:56 a.m.
May is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s motorcycle safety month, and transportation officials are reminding riders to stay safe while enjoying their rides.
Allstate Insurance has thrown its support behind the NHTSA-created event. “We understand that bikes are an increasingly fun past time for many female consumers — especially during the summer months,” Allstate spokesman John Heid said. “But it’s important to us that riders — both male and female alike — know how to ride safely, and motorists understand the proper ways to share the road.”
Motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled during the past 10 years, accounting for more than 4,500 deaths and 78,000 injuries annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, the NHTSA reports more than two-thirds of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve a motorcycle and another vehicle.

In conjunction with motorcycle safety month, Allstate and the NHTSA suggest the following safety tips for motorcycle riders:
• Protect yourself: Choose gear that increases your visibility and provides protection if you were in a crash. Always wear a helmet that fits right, and has a DOT label showing that it meets federal safety standards.  
• Keep control: Know your bike’s limits. Stick to the speed limit. Use your signals. Brake smart by using both brakes at the same time, slow and steady.
• Know the road: Watch for hazardous road conditions, including potholes, wet leaves and railroad tracks.
• Make sure other drivers can see you: Never share a lane with a car. Don’t ride in blind spots or tailgate. Always use your headlights.
• Be respectful of others: Don’t weave through traffic or diver on the shoulder.

Motorists can follow these tips from Allstate and the NHTSA to help keep the roads safer for both themselves and motorcyclists:
• Motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see: Remember that bikers are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to the bike’s smaller size. Always check your mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane.
• Allow the bike a full lane width: Although it may seem as through there is enough room in the traffic lane for both a automobile and motorcycle, remember the motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely. Never share a lane with a motorcycle.
• Allow more following distance: Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions. In dry conditions, bikers can stop more quickly than cars.
• Always use your signals: This allows the biker to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position. Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle because motorcycle signals usually are not self-canceling and bikers sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the biker is going to turn before proceeding.
• Be aware of road conditions: Minor annoyances to you may pose major hazards to bikers. Motorcyclists may change speed or adjust their position suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings and grooved pavement.

 

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