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Tips for motorcycle safety

There are a number of myths about motorcycle safety that cyclists in California should be familiar with. For example, leather is not just for fashion. It helps prevent scrapes and cuts in an accident. That full-faced helmets restrict visibility is another myth. The Department of Transportation requires all such helmets to be constructed so that peripheral vision is unaffected. Furthermore, unlike open-face helmets, they protect from bugs, weather and other distractions that may also be impediments to safety.

Beginners are often attracted to big bikes, but because they weigh hundreds of pounds, they can be difficult to control. Smaller bikes are a better choice for new riders. Cyclists may also have heard that a loud exhaust pipe helps warn motorists of their approach, but because the sound is directed backwards instead of ahead, this is unlikely. In addition to assuming that drivers will not hear them, motorcyclists should operate as though they are not seen either. Riding close to the dividing line helps keep motorcyclists out of drivers' blind spots.

Some motorcyclists may believe that highways are not as safe as streets because of the speed differential, but statistics do not bear this out. More than 90 percent of motorcycle accidents involving a passenger vehicle happen on roads that are not interstates.

Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in accidents because unlike drivers of passenger vehicles, they have no protective cover. A motorcyclist who is injured in an accident where someone else is at fault may find that insurance companies do not offer enough compensation to cover costs such as medical expenses and lost income from work. Furthermore, the process of working through the insurance and legal system with severe injuries can be overwhelming, and an attorney may be able to help with the process of seeking appropriate damages.

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