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Safety tips for new motorcyclists

Heading out on the open road on the freedom of a motorcycle is a dream for many people. If you are just now realizing that dream, you should make sure that you are ready before your tires hit the pavement. Following these safety tips can help you stay as safe as possible.

One important consideration for all new riders is to make sure that you don't try to rush your first trip on the open roads. You have to make sure that you understand everything about the motorcycle you are riding and how to operate it properly. That might seem like a no-brainer, but many motorcyclists are in such a hurry to play with their new toy that they don't make sure they know how to properly use it.

You should also make sure that your motorcycle has antilock brakes, which help you keep the ability to steer if you have to slam on the brakes. Motorcycles that have antilock brakes are much less likely -- 37 percent less -- to be involved in a fatal crash.

The safety gear you choose is important. Make sure that you have a certified helmet on. Ideally, you will choose a Department of Transportation-approved full face helmet. Other protective gear, like motorcycle pants, jackets, and gloves are also good ideas because they can help to protect you if you happen to get knocked off of your motorcycle.

Bad weather and road hazards pose risks to motorcyclists. If you are going to ride in bad weather, make sure you are prepared to handle your motorcycle in slick conditions. Prompt and appropriate reactions to road hazards can help you avoid an accident

If you are struck by another motorist or a vehicle driver, you might decide to seek compensation for the injuries you suffered. This might help you to pay for damages to your bike, as well as medical bills and lost wages.

Source: Consumer Reports, "10 Motorcycle safety tips for new riders," accessed Aug. 24, 2016

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