Motorcycle safety tips for every rider

Whether you’re experienced or new to riding, following these tips by Consumer Reports will keep you safe on the road and reduce your risk or serious injury or death.

Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. When shopping for a bike, start with one that fits you. When seated, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes. Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is.

Invest in antilock brakes. Motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it.

Hone your skills. Take an advanced course techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers.

Protect your head. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to studies. A full-face helmet is certified the best choice.

Wear the right gear. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out.

Be defensive. Car drivers are at fault 60 percent of the time in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car. Be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel. Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets and don’t tailgate.

Avoid bad weather. Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky. If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top.

Watch for road hazards. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill. Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can pose serious danger when on a bike.

Check your bike before each ride. Do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly. Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes. And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure.

Consult a personal injury lawyer if you’re seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Skilled lawyers will investigate your accident and all factors involved then apply their experience to recovering all the compensation to which you are entitled.