The summer and fall seasons bring nice weather which often increases the amount of motorcycle riders on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death and in 2016, statistics show that 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers died. Here are some tips to protect yourself and others on your next ride.

Choose the right motorcycle

There are plenty of choices in regards to purchasing a bike, therefore it’s crucial that you complete the appropriate research before you buy a motorcycle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “supersport” bikes have driver death rates four times that of cruisers or standard bikes. Ask professionals for advice and do your due diligence so that you find the right bike for you.

Wear a helmet

Although not every state has a helmet law, a helmet is the most important piece of protective gear that a motorcycle rider can wear to save their life. According to the National Safety Council, 1,875 of the motorcyclists that died in 2016 were not wearing a helmet. Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for the driver and 41% for the passenger. Look for a DOT sticker on your helmet which signifies that the helmet meets the safety standards required by law.

Enroll in the right education

According to Consumer Reports, Honda’s Jon Seidel states that, “there is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course.” Take instruction courses, get licensed and enroll in periodic riding programs to keep up-to-date on the newest safety measures and regulations.

Avoid bad weather

Rain not only affects your visibility but also lessons your grip on the road. Strong winds also pose a danger to drivers and riders as they are susceptible to being pushed around by sudden gusts. Try to avoid bad weather, but if you have to go out in the rain, the time immediately following rainfall is the most dangerous for motorcyclists.

Know the rules of the road

Drivers should understand and abide by laws and rules such as lane changes, speed limits and traffic lights. Organize your riding group to sign a contract or mentally commit to a set of safety standards.

Be vigilant

Watch out for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, puddles, debris, and gravel that could cause for an unexpected skid. Not only should you be keeping your eye out for environmental and terrain changes, it’s necessary to watch other motorcyclists and drivers. Drive defensively and don’t assume that other drivers see you. Pretend that you’re invisible and take careful note of all surroundings. Two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by another driver violating the rider’s right of way.

Wear protective clothing

In case of an accident, protect yourself with clothing made for the job of standing up to asphalt such as an abrasion-resistant jacket and pair of pants, a full body suit, full-fingered gloves, or over-the-ankle boots.

Wear reflective gear

If you plan to take an evening, night or early morning ride, don’t forget to wear reflective gear on your full body. Take extra precaution at intersections where more than half of motorcycle accidents occur. Utilize your headlights in all times of day even if you think that there is adequate lighting and especially in fog.

Don’t drink and drive

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, having any alcohol in one’s body increases the  chance of crashing by 5 times. Having a BAC that exceeds .05 increases the risk of crashing by 40. Alcohol affects your ability to avoid hazards that might cause a collision, slows your reaction time, and diminishes your capacity to make healthy driving decisions. Plan your night ahead if you plan on consuming alcohol. Fatigue and drowsiness can have a similar effect as alcohol, so make sure that you are rested when you ride.

Drive responsibly

Don’t weave in and out of lanes, ride on the shoulder or in between lanes. Although it may be tempting to try some tricks, it’s not worth your life or the life of another. Responsibility not only applies to your actions on the road, but also includes your actions before you hit the road. Inspect your bike for any signs of danger to you or your passenger by using a checklist to ensure that everything is covered.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact your local attorney for assistance with your case.