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how to stay safe on your motorcycle

easy, rider

Esurance proudly offers motorcycle insurance to all you brave, wind-blown road warriors who prefer 2 wheels over 4. Here are some sagely safety tips to help you never have to use it (fingers crossed).

Dangers of motorcycle riding

Most riders probably have a sense of the increased risks that come with motorcycles. But you might not realize just how crucial your safety preparation can be.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are roughly 8 times more likely than car drivers to be injured in an accident and 35 times more likely to have a fatal crash. Clearly, safety (a priority no matter the vehicle) deserves even more attention when atop your bike.

Use your noggin — by protecting it

Helmet use

Wearing a Department of Transportation-certified helmet is easily one of the most important steps you can take when riding. Motorcycle helmets can prevent 37 percent of fatal injuries in drivers, and 41 percent in passengers.

Motorcycle helmet laws

Currently, 19 states and D.C. have universal helmet laws that require all riders to cover their noggins, and 28 others have partial helmet laws that apply to some motorcyclists — usually those under age 18 or 21. Only 3 states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) have no helmet requirements of any kind.

Get a full breakdown of helmet laws by state right here.

Motorcycle safety tips

Accessorize for safety

Aside from your helmet, there's plenty of other essential motorcycle gear that can boost your safety:

  • Long-sleeve leather jacket. If not leather, a heavy, synthetic material also works. Should be tight enough to not flap in the breeze but still allow you to move freely.
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  • Leather/synthetic pants. Should cover your legs completely and fit similarly to the jacket.
  • Sturdy boots or shoes. Should cover and support your ankles, have short heels that won't catch on the road, with non-slip soles. Don't forget to tuck away laces.
  • Sturdy gloves. Should cover your fingers completely and allow a firm grip.
  • Shatter-proof goggles or face shield. A windshield is not a replacement for these.

Be seen

No matter how cautious of a rider you are, you still run the risk of getting into accidents if other drivers can't see you. You can limit this risk by wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing, keeping your headlight on at all times (which might be required, depending on your state), and using turn signals to clearly show your intentions (even if the road seems empty).

And while your bike's small stature might tempt you to share a lane with other drivers, we'd advise against it, as it's an easy way to end up in their blind spot (or just plain make them nervous).

Ride defensively

road

Even though you're going out of your way to be seen, you should still ride as if you're invisible. This means always erring on the side of caution around other drivers.

Give yourself tons of space when cruising behind or passing others, scan 10-15 seconds down the road for hazards at all times, take your time with lane changes, and have both hands ready on the handlebars to make sudden turns or avoid collisions.

Know your bike

Get to know the safety features of your motorcycle. At the very least, your bike typically must have:

  • Tires with good tread
  • Headlight, tail light, brake light, turn signals
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Horn and two mirrors

Before riding, you'll also want to check fluid levels, battery condition, chain or belt tension, and the clutch and throttle.

But being comfortable on your bike isn't just knowing its working parts — it's also knowing the feel of it. Practice riding in small, open areas before hitting the highway so you can get comfortable with your bike's special (ahem) personality.

Get a motorcycle insurance quote

No matter how safe you are, accidents can still happen. When they do, you'll feel confident knowing that Esurance is there to help you report a claim, repair the damage, and get back on the road.

Visit our motorcycle insurance page to find out about a wide range of discounts and coverages.

Related links

Motorcycle insurance coverages
Find out what coverages should be on your motorcycle policy and how they can assist you.

Motorcycle insurance discounts
Your vehicle may be small, but your savings don't have to be.

Motorcycle licenses and safety courses
Learn what it takes to get your motorcycle license and how a motorcycle safety course can help.

This page is intended to provide you with general information about motorcycle insurance, and to help you understand the various kinds of coverage. It does not describe or refer to any specific policy or coverage. For information about your particular coverages, including limitations and exclusions, we encourage you to read your policy contract and consult your insurance representative with any questions.

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