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Keeping safe on motorcycles in Massachusetts

Motorcycles are a fun way for Massachusetts residents to get around. Not only are they fun, though, they can also be economical since they keep fuel prices low. Despite these advantages, a motorcycle's small size makes it an easy target for larger vehicles to miss. Negligent drivers often fail to take the time to notice motorcyclists and cause serious and deadly accidents.

While motorcyclists cannot control other people's behavior, they can take some steps to help themselves remain safe while riding within the state. One thing they can do is drive defensively. This requires motorcyclists to be vigilant of other people's actions while on the road and requires them to change some of their own behavior.

In order to drive defensively, motorcyclists should make sure to scan the path ahead of them. It is recommended that they scan around 10 to 15 seconds ahead of them to spot upcoming dangers. Additionally, motorcyclists should leave extra room between other cars and themselves. This gives motorcyclists extra time to react to potential dangers. This includes maintaining a distance when passing, when following other vehicles and when lane sharing.

Motorcyclist should also always remain alert to potential dangers on the roadways. They should have an escape plan in their head should a hazard occur.

Finally, motorcyclists can help keep themselves safe by making their presence known. This includes using lights, signals and lane positions to communicate the motorcycle's movements. It also includes wearing the proper clothing and gear in order to be visible to other drivers.

Even when these safety precautions are taken, motorcyclists can still be injured in a motorcycle accident. When that happens, motorcyclists need to know their legal rights.

Source: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, "RIDING WITHIN YOUR ABILITIES," accessed Jan. 19, 2015

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