Motorcycle safety awareness

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration devoted the month of May to Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The administration is encouraging all motorists to "share the road" with each other. Incorporating safe driving techniques helps reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from crashes and accidents.

Over the past few years, the increase in motorcycle safety awareness resulted in a 14 percent decrease in motorcycle-related fatalities in 2013. Not only does safe driving decrease traffic incidents, it can also reduce insurance rates. Some companies provide qualifying safe drivers with discounts on their premiums.

Here are five motorcycle safety tips

1. Stay focused
Motorcyclists should never ride while distracted. This includes using a cell phone, not paying attention to the road or talking to pedestrians or other motorists.

2. Know your rights
Don't let other vehicles bully you on the road, since motorcyclists have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as all other motorists on the road. Conversely, in most states, motorcyclists do not have any special privileges.

3. Wear a helmet
This is the one of the most crucial components of riding a motorcycle. According to the NHTSA, an estimated 1,630 motorcyclists were saved by their helmets during accidents.

4. Check your signals
Many motorcycles do not have self-canceling turn signals, which means your signal will continue to flash after you've made your turn. If this is the case for your motorcycle, be sure to manually turn the signal off after a turn so as not to confuse other motorists.

5. Avoid blind spots
Since motorcycles are smaller than normal vehicles, it's easy to get lost in a blind spot. Although it's difficult to determine whether you're riding in another driver's blind spot, by avoiding the back corners of cars you can keep yourself safer.

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