Motorcycle accidents are costly. Over 5,000 riders and passengers died in motorcycle crashes in 2017, a figure that had doubled over a 20-year span. Even more sustain injuries in crashes every year. Not only that, but motorcycle accidents also create an economic burden on the public of approximately $12 billion per year. As a motorcyclist, you may bear some of that burden yourself in the form of increased insurance premiums, for example.

Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest, particularly yours as a motorcyclist, to reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents as well as to prevent injuries and fatalities that may result. Fortunately, as a motorcyclist, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of threats your own safety.

  1. Wear a helmet

This is the single most effective way to prevent fatality due to a motorcycle accident. You should wear a DOT-approved helmet every time you ride. In Washington state, this is not only an excellent idea, it is the law.

  1. Think about visibility

Because motorcycles are comparatively small, and because the drivers of cars and trucks have relatively large blind spots, it can be difficult for drivers to see your motorcycle even as you share the road with them. You can take steps to increase your visibility by using your headlights day and night and by wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and gear. Nevertheless, you should never assume that the other drivers see you unless you have made direct eye contact with them. As a matter of fact, you should assume the opposite.

  1. Drive defensively

Since half of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, this piece of advice is particularly applicable in those areas. Pay special attention to any vehicles that are signaling a left-hand turn, as they may cross in front of you.

  1. Know and obey the rules of the road at all times

This includes being courteous to others on the road, be they other riders, pedestrians or drivers of cars and trucks.

  1. Keep yourself informed

If you are a new rider, take a motorcycle safety course. If you are not a new rider but have been off your bike for a while, consider taking a refresher course in motorcycle safety.