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Why are motorcyclists in danger on the roads?

To stay safe on a motorcycle, you need to be as aware as possible. Unfortunately, you can't control every situation, and it may not be you who causes an accident. Motorists behind the wheels of four-wheeled vehicles need to be aware of the risks to motorcyclists if they don't see them or give them the space they need. Motorcyclists have the same right to be on the roads as other drivers.

In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists and their passengers died in collisions. Another 88,000 suffered nonfatal injuries. These numbers increased over time, from a 3 percent fatality rate in 2006 to an 8 percent increase by 2015. U.S. motorcyclists account for approximately 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, even though motorcycles make up only 3 percent of the total registered vehicles in the country.

In many cases, the reason accidents happen is because drivers are distracted. They don't see motorcycles because they are small compared to other vehicles. Drivers don't always think the motorcycle is traveling as fast as it is because of its smaller size. They don't anticipate the movements of a smaller vehicle and may not notice the vehicle due to obstructions that block the motorcyclist from view.

As a motorcyclist, you know that you have every right to be on the roads, just like everyone else. To make yourself more visible, wear bright colors and reflectors. Make use of your horn and be prepared to slow for drivers who don't notice you. With defensive driving techniques, you can help prevent crashes that otherwise could leave you with serious injuries.

Source: National Safety Council, "Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street," accessed Oct. 11, 2017

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