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Defensive driving tips for motorcycle riders

Motorcycle riders are at elevated risk of serious auto accident injury compared to drivers of other types of vehicles. The rate of California motorcycle deaths has increased for more than two decades according to data from the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California Berkeley. 

Review defensive driving techniques to stay safe when riding a motorcycle. 

Make yourself visible

Collisions commonly occur when drivers do not see motorcycles in time to stop. Use your turn signal whenever you switch lanes or make a turn. Improper turning and violating right-of-way can also result in motorcycle accidents. Turn on your headlights when traveling on the highway and never ride in the blind spots of vehicles around you. 

Look in your back and side mirrors frequently so you have enough distance from drivers on all sides. That will give you time to respond to an unexpected driver action. 

Follow California motorcycle laws

Motorcycle riders must adhere to the same laws as other drivers. However, you can travel between two lanes of traffic on a motorcycle. You can carry a passenger only with a footrest and seat for that purpose. Your bike cannot have handlebars that place your hands more than 6 inches higher than your shoulders. 

If you are a new motorcycle rider, consider taking a National Safety Council defensive driving course. You can also benefit from this type of education if you have been riding a motorcycle for many years. Motorcycle injuries most often affect men ages 25 to 34 followed by men ages 45 to 54.