Motorcycle riders are not afforded the same protections that other motor vehicle drivers and their passengers have. As such, they often suffer serious injuries or death when they are involved in accidents. Although not all such injuries and fatalities can be prevented, there are several things that people can do to improve their safety when riding motorcycles in Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in the event of a motorcycle collision, wearing the right gear may help protect riders. This includes a jacket and pants that completely cover the arms and legs, boots or high-top shoes with short heels, gloves, face or eye protection, and an approved helmet. Riders who do not wear helmets are three times more likely to succumb to head injuries than those who do wear approved helmets.

Drug- and alcohol-related motorcycle wrecks account for approximately 50,000 serious injuries and the death of 2,100 motorcyclists annually. Although people may claim they are better able to control their vehicles after consuming alcohol or while on drugs, the effects of such substances may impair their judgment and decision-making, as well as their ability to perform physical tasks. Therefore, people should not drink if they are riding, or find an alternative mode of transportation or wait out the effects if they have consumed alcoholic beverages.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many traffic accidents involving motorcycles and cars or trucks occur because the other vehicles’ drivers do not see riders. In order to help protect themselves when riding motorcycles, people should ride with the flow of traffic and obey the traffic lights, speed limits and signs. It is also recommended that they allow ample space between their bikes and other vehicles, as well as that they always signal and check behind them prior to making lane changes.