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Motorcycle crashes are avoidable

Motorcyclists, through their skill and equipment, can avoid serious motorcycle accidents. Even so, a reckless or distracted driver can cause fatalities or serious injuries among cyclists, no matter how cautious a motorcyclist is.

First, motorcyclists should always be prepared to take evasive action and brake in case a car turns or stops suddenly. Looking at a car's wheels indicates which way they will move and will help plan for evasive action. Shedding speed, instead of laying the bike down, increases the chances for survival in the event an emergency stop is required.

Motorcyclists should spend as little time as possible in blind spots. If a cyclist sees a driver's eyes in their rearview mirrors, they are not in a blind spot, and the driver should see them.

Next, cyclists often face unexpected rough surfaces such as sand, gravel and leaves while rounding a corner. Speed should be kept where they have sufficient reaction time. If a cyclist enters a corner too fast, they should try to ride it out and lean out of the bike as much as possible, look where they are going and use the controls as much as possible.

Cyclists should also try to avoid slippery surfaces such as wet pavement and oil and diesel. The first hour after rainfall is the most treacherous, and cyclists should wait out that period.

The area next to parked cars is often called the death zone because of the sudden opening of car doors and pedestrian movements. Cyclists should never ride between an active traffic lane and parked cars. When a collision is unavoidable, motorcyclists should brake as hard as possible which may decrease speed and lower the severity of a crash.

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Regardless of these precautions, cyclists face the risk of catastrophic injuries from the negligence or recklessness of vehicle drivers. Prompt legal representation can help assure that victims and their families can pursue compensation for losses via a legal action.

Source: Ride Apart, "10 common motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them," By Wes Silver, Feb. 20, 2017

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