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3 ways to protect yourself on a motorcycle

Motorcycle crashes can be devastating, particularly if there is a larger motor vehicle involved. It only takes a momentary mistake by another driver for an accident to happen. People may fail to notice your motorcycle and merge or turn into your lane. While the people in the vehicle aren't very likely to get hurt, you could get thrown from your motorcycle or even run over by a vehicle.

The summer is a great time to get your motorcycle out. It's also the time of year when accident rates tend to go up. Taking a few extra steps to ensure you are safe on your motorcycle may reduce your risk of a serious crash.

Be vigilant when it comes to sharing the road

You are acutely aware of the fact that you share the road with other vehicles. Those others drivers, however, may not be as aware of your presence. That lack of awareness makes sense, in some ways. For motorcycle drivers, most of the vehicles they share the road with are bigger and capable of causing catastrophic accidents. For those in larger, enclosed vehicles, motorcycles pose very little risk.

While sharing the road should require effort from everyone, motorcycle riders incur far more risk of injury and property damage than then those in cars or trucks. You should make a point of double and triple checking before merging or turning, and watch carefully for other vehicles that don't realize you are there. Spotting a potential issue before it becomes a crash could give you time to move or stop, preventing a serious accident.

Invest in protective gear

Currently, Iowa does not have a law in place that requires motorcycle drivers to wear a helmet. It's important to understand, however, that just because you can't get fined or ticketed for not wearing a helmet doesn't mean you should hit the road without one. It's your choice, of course, but helmets protect your head, brain and face in the event of an accident. Helmets with face shields can also reduce the risk of bugs or debris getting into your eyes, mouth or nose and impairing your ability to drive.

Proper clothing is another important part of your safety gear. Leather doesn't just look cool. It also protects your body from road rash and other injuries if there's an accident. Sturdy, secure boots are also important.

Know your own limits

Driving a motorcycle requires skill, strength and attentiveness. If you are sick, tired or otherwise impaired, getting onto your motorcycle could be a big mistake. Drinking and driving don't mix well, especially when your vehicle provides very little protection in the event of an accident.

Be careful, and have backup options available for transportation if you can't drive. Even creating a Lyft or Uber account could ensure you don't feel like you have to get on your motorcycle when you aren't operating at 100 percent.

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