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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Many Nashville residents may be excited for the summer biking season to break out their motorcycles and hit the road. While the warm weather might encourage people to take their motorcycles out instead of their cars, it's still important to have an eye on safety when heading onto the open road.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is an initiative piloted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to accident statistics gathered by the NHTSA, a rider is about 25 times more likely to die in a car crash than a person in a car. Motorcycle riders are also five times more likely to be injured on the road.

The dramatic increase in fatality rates reflects that motorcycles are significantly less safe in the event of an accident than a car, which many riders already know. Most riders are also clear on the proper safety precautions to take while on the road, but some choose to ride without protective clothing or helmets anyways. The NHSTA recommends that riders closely follow the instructions given in motorcycle safety courses in order to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Safety on the road for bikers is also dependent on awareness on the part of drivers. The NHTSA encourages drivers to be more vigilant in checking for motorcycles, especially since they can become invisible for a car with a large blind spot. At the same time, riders should be aware of when they might not be visible to cars and should make sure to follow at a safe distance in case of a sudden lane change or a driver swerving.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Motorcycle Awareness Month reminds drivers, riders to share the road," May 1, 2012.

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