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How to stay safer on your motorcycle

For motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing feels as good as the wind on your face as you ride down the open road. There is an unparalleled sense of freedom you experience on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, that freedom also includes danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found motorcycle accidents are 27 times more likely to result in death, compared to other motor vehicle accidents.

Practicing motorcycle safety could mean the difference between life and death.

Know your motorcycle

If you are riding on a new motorcycle, do not take it out on the highway for your first ride. Practice riding it around a parking lot or your neighborhood. Get a feel for how your new bike handles before you take it out in traffic.

Keep up on maintenance

Part of making sure you ride safely is maintaining your motorcycle. Check your tire pressure, brakes, horn, headlights and signals. Monitor the fluid levels for your engine, clutch and brakes. If levels are repeatedly low, you may have a leak in need of repair.

Wear the proper gear

Perhaps the most important part of your safety gear is your helmet. Helmet technology continues to improve. Some helmets feature multi-directional impact protection systems designed to decrease the force exerted during some types of impact. Other helmets offer tech features like a noise-canceling device or small microphones that help cut down on helmet noise, so you can focus on traffic sounds and your engine's RPM.

The next most important accessory is a good pair of gloves. You want a pair made specifically for motorcycling because the material is different. These gloves should feature a retention strap, so the gloves stay on during any impact. A Gizmodo article also recommends you buy gloves with palm sliders that allow your palms to slide on pavement. This prevents your hands from absorbing some of the impact from a crash.

You want your arms and legs completely covered while riding, but not just with a t-shirt and jeans. Buy a quality leather jacket or look for high quality textiles like cordura. These materials will protect your skin much better if you get into an accident.

Experts also recommend you invest in good quality body armor. All armor should be tight fitting and CE-rated. Investing in a strap-on back protector provides greater coverage and protection.

Riding a motorcycle may be more dangerous than riding in a car, but if you take the proper precautions, you can ride safer.

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