Many people are drawn to motorcycles because of the intensity and excitement riding provides. Motorcycles are fun and routinely draw attention from other motorists.

What motorcycles add in terms of speed and excitement, they may lose in safety, especially when compared to cars and trucks. Motorcycle riders and their passengers have the highest risk of fatal injury among all motor vehicle users. Per mile travelled, motorcyclist fatalities occur nearly 28 times as often as passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.

Thankfully, the risks associated with riding motorcycles can be reduced with some simple safety precautions.

Gear: Motorcycle riders can improve the barrier between themselves and the road with the proper gear. Quality leather jackets and pants, helmets, gloves, and nonskid boots can protect the body from severe injuries.

Improve visibility: Reflective tape added to clothing can help motorcyclists become more visible to other drivers; otherwise, wear bright clothing colours. Also, riding with others as a group increases visibility.

Familiarize yourself with the bike: Motorcycle riders are not advised to take an unfamiliar bike into heavy traffic. Instead, if the bike has never been ridden before, become familiar with its handling and responsiveness in a controlled area that isn’t full of traffic before taking it on the open road.

Stay out of blind spots: Consumer Reports says roughly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a car driver violating a motorcycle rider’s right of way. Motorcycle riders should never assume a driver sees them. Staying out of blind spots and steering clear of turning vehicles can help.

Adjust for weather: Riding in the rain or other challenging conditions is riskier since the roads are slippery. Slow down or keep the bike at home in inclement weather.

Remove distractions: Stow cell phones away so your attention is not drawn away from the road.

Remain sober and alert: Don’t ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including over-the-counter if they cause drowsiness). Also, do not drive while drowsy, as it is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Be aware of obstacles: Motorcyclists need to be very careful about road obstacles, more so than other drivers. This includes uneven road surfaces, fallen branches, oil slicks, and/or wet spots. In addition, ConsumerSafety.org says a motorcycle has less contact with the road than a car, making it more likely to skid out of control or throw a rider from the bike.

Motorcycle riders need to be more cautious on the road because they are at increased risk for injury.