Defensive Driving: Avoiding motorcycle fatalities - AmericaNowNews.com

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Defensive Driving: Avoiding motorcycle fatalities

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    Motorcycle safety tips straight from the street

    Motorcycle safety tips straight from the street

    Nationwide, nearly 2,000 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2011. With high gas prices, the sales of motorcycles are up nearly seven percent -- which could mean a lot of inexperienced riders on the road.
    Nationwide, nearly 2,000 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2011. With high gas prices, the sales of motorcycles are up nearly seven percent -- which could mean a lot of inexperienced riders on the road.

There has been a recent and disturbing spike in motorcyclist fatalities nationwide and it's a deadly trend experts say is expected to continue. Here's what you need to know for your own safety (even if you don't ride a motorcycle) because we all share the road.

The fact is, motorcyclist deaths are up all over the country. According to the Governors' Highway Safety Association, some states have seen a staggering increase. Oregon and Indiana are both up 29 percent.

California Highway Patrol officer Saul Gomez blames speed on the 20 percent increase in motorcyclist deaths in California. "Whether it's unsafe speed on the motorcycle part, whether it's unsafe speed on the vehicle driver part. Unsafe speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions here in California."

Officer Gomez says these accidents often happen on freeways when motorcyclists ride between the lanes. It's called "lane splitting" and while many states don't recognize lane splitting as legal, they don't prohibit it either. But drivers beware: The motorcycle rider can often be in your blind spot.

"For a motorcycle rider that's constantly changing lanes rapidly, not only is he in danger, he puts the rest of the motoring public in danger because the vehicles around you don't know what your next move is going to be," said Officer Gomez.

There are ways to make driving a motorcycle safer. You can add an after market headlight that flashes your high beam one hundred times a minute. And the horn that comes stock on most bikes is quiet compared to a car horn, so a lot of motorcyclists change the horn. It is also a good idea to wear an orange or yellow helmet to reduce your risk.

Research shows that wearing a Department of Transportation approved helmet can save almost 40 percent of all riders from fatal injuries. It's also important to stay out of the driver's blind spot, and don't speed.

For drivers - you need to share the road. Look twice before you change lanes and don't speed.

The "Governors Highway Safety Association" says all beginning riders should be trained in basic motorcycle operating skills and safety practices. And refresher training can help many riders who are returning to motorcycling after not riding for several years.

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