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How motorcyclists can protect themselves from negligent drivers

Whether you have been riding a motorcycle for years or are relatively new to the pastime, you know that there are certain safe driving practices that can greatly reduce the possibility of your being involved in a serious or even fatal motorcycle accident.

For instance, you know that you should avoid speeding, tailgating and other highly questionable -- or outright illegal -- maneuvers while behind the handlebars. Similarly, you know that you must constantly monitor road conditions and make a concerted effort to keep your bike in good working condition.

While it's therefore clear to most riders how to keep themselves safe, what may not be quite as clear to them is how to keep themselves safe from the drivers of the passenger vehicles with whom they share the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are a few very simple yet highly effective steps that motorcyclists can take to keep protect themselves from fellow motorists.

Make sure you are seen     

According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists should assume that drivers do not see them and drive accordingly. What this means is that they should avoid riding in the blind spots of vehicles (i.e., those areas that can't be viewed by mirrors), keep their headlights on at all times, ride in the center of the lane and wear bright, reflective clothing.

Use caution at intersections  

The NHTSA indicates that an astounding 50 percent of all car-motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. As such, they advise motorcyclists to be on the lookout for inattentive drivers who execute ill-timed left turns, pull out from side streets and driveways without looking, and whose vision may be limited by surrounding obstructions (buildings, trees, etc.).

Don't let drivers follow too closely  

Given how long it can take for passenger vehicles to suddenly come to a complete stop, the NHTSA indicates that it's imperative for motorcyclists to avoid being tailgated at all costs. To that end, they recommend that when motorcyclists are being followed too closely that they calmly and constructively indicate as such to the driver (perhaps via hand signal) and, if the problem continues, simply changing lanes or pulling over to let them pass.

Please remember that if you've been seriously injured or lost a loved in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless actions of another driver that you have options for seeking justice.

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Busciglio & Sheridan Law Group
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Tampa, FL 33603

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