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Myths regarding motorcycle safety

As spring and summer approach, motorists are more likely to see motorcycles on Pennsylvania roads. With Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, both bikers and car drivers may want to learn some safety tips while dispelling some myths at the same time.

The general consensus that large motorcycles are great for new riders is a myth. Newbies might purchase big bikes to impress friends or compensate for inexperience, but these vehicles can weigh more than 700 pounds, which makes them more difficult to handle in parking lots and around tight turns. With more torque, motorcyclists need experience to ride these.

Another myth is that full-faced helmets affect motorcyclists' peripheral vision. The U.S. Department of Transportation has implemented safety standards that require all helmets to have 210-degree viewing areas, which includes peripheral vision. Additionally, full-faced helmets completely protect the head and keep bugs, debris, rain and wind out of motorcyclists' faces.

Many bikers also believe that driving on roads and streets is safer than driving on highways, but it is actually the opposite. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study in 2007 that discovered that 91 percent of accidents involving a passenger vehicle and motorcycle occurred on roads and streets. Also, about 60 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle happened on urban roads. The reasons for highways being safer include less opposing traffic, smoother traffic flow and wider lanes.

In the event of a motorcycle accident that involves a passenger vehicle, the motorcyclist is at a higher risk of a serious injury because of having less protection. If negligence on the part of the car driver caused the crash, the injured victim may want to have legal help in seeking damages from the at-fault party.

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