Does riding a motorcycle have to be so dangerous?

Over the past few months, Albuquerque has had more than its share of serious motorcycle accidents. There are more motorcycles on the road than ever. You might have seen the bumper sticker "Start Seeing Motorcycles." That's because when cars don't see motorcycles, serious and deadly injuries can occur-to the people in the car but especially to the rider.

If you're a motorcycle rider, you've probably heard of the risks you take every day. Have you had an accident or come close? How many times?

The national numbers from 2015 show that nearly 5,000 people died as a result of motorcycle crashes. Also, injuries were suffered by 88,000 motorcyclists. Even if you're a safe, experienced rider who doesn't speed or drive after drinking alcohol, you're still bound to encounter a dangerous situation that doesn't give you enough time to respond. So how else can you reduce your chances of a serious injury?

  • Make sure your bike is the right fit and size for you. If you're not strong or experienced enough to handle a super-fast, big-engine bike, it's too risky to drive one. Don't be disappointed-check out all the other options! And look for a model with antilock brakes (ABS).
  • Take a riding course such as the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program; you'll learn basic and advanced techniques, including how to act quickly to avoid a crash.
  • Wear a helmet to avoid brain injuries that could change your life forever (even though helmets are not required in New Mexico unless you're under the age of 17). Remember, you can be a very skilled driver, but it's what other drivers do that could leave you with a fatal head injury.
  • Wear protective gear: padded clothing and shoes or boots instead of sandals. Protect your legs, where you're most likely to suffer an injury. Protect your eyes with goggles or a helmet visor.
  • Be extra alert to cars and trucks merging onto the road from side streets, or those changing lanes. Remember, they may not see you. You have to assume that they won't.
  • Try not to ride in rain, strong winds or driving snow...but if that's how you get to work, be extra careful and don't make any sudden moves.

The road risks for motorcyclists are very real. Take care out there.

If you have already experienced an accident and been left with injuries, seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

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