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How motorcyclists can work to protect themselves

As a motorcyclist, you have to accept a certain amount of risk. Even if you never make a mistake on your bike, a vehicle driver may cause an accident. It can be far worse for you. For instance, if a driver turns left in front of you -- a very common way that motorcycle crashes play out -- that driver may not be hurt at all, even as you are thrown from your bike and seriously injured.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself. A few of them include:

  • Wearing a helmet: Helmets save lives and massively reduce the odds of a head injury. Illinois may not have a helmet law, but choosing to wear one anyway may keep you from harm or at least reduce injuries.
  • Taking proper classes: These courses help you get familiar with your bike, the law and the potential obstacles you will face on the road. Even if you have been riding for years, a refresher course can help.
  • Never speeding: Speed cuts back on reaction time. You may be able to avoid a crash at 55 miles per hour that you can't avoid at 65 miles per hour. Even if you feel safe driving that fast because you believe you won't make a mistake, how much do you trust everyone else on the road?
  • Buying a bike with an antilock braking system (ABS): If you're worried about locking the brakes and crashing, an ABS can help. It doesn't lock up, but you can still brake as hard as possible to cut speed before a collision.

Again, the risk is high for motorcycle riders, even when these tips are used daily. Those who get hurt in accidents must know their legal rights to financial compensation.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Background on: Motorcycle crashes," accessed April 10, 2018

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