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Tips for safe fall motorcycle riding in West Virginia

This time of year is fine for riding motorcycles in West Virginia. It's cool, but not yet too cold, and the leaves are turning their brilliant fall colors. Perfect for weekend rides, or whenever you need to feel the wind in your face.

The following safety tips may keep you safer on your autumn rides this season.

  • Always be prepared. It's not just the Boy Scout motto — it's part of the motorcyclist's creed. Wearing the right gear and equipment, having an emergency tool kit stashed on a well-maintained cycle and being clear-headed and sober when riding are all important.
  • Know your position. Keep your bearings about you at all times and have a rough estimate of the layer of space between you and others on the road. Have a constantly updating plan of evasive actions you can take if necessary. Watch the road ahead and actions of oncoming drivers.
  • Maintain smooth control of your motorcycle. Not only will your fuel economy get better, you'll be much safer transitioning speeds and gears when changing terrain or coming to a stop. Bikes in the right gear maintain better traction, steer better and are easier to brake and accelerate.
  • Turn your head to observe traffic. Your mirrors are important guides to avoiding obstacles as they approach, but nothing can replace turning your head before making a move. Be certain that there is nothing coming up behind you before switching lanes after passing or otherwise.
  • Beware of driveways and intersections. Driveways and intersections are particularly dangerous to motorcyclists, as motorists often are not aware of the motorcycle rider. To keep safer, turn your head left, right and left again before proceeding through the intersection.
  • Practice riding if you are new to the sport. Everybody has to learn somewhere, and the best place to learn is by taking a motorcycle riding course. But even experienced riders should put themselves through their paces in a controlled area periodically to make sure that their reflexes remain in tip-top shape for the open road and its potential dangers.
  • Slow down in bad weather. Don't try to go as fast as you normally would if you get caught in a spate of inclement weather. Adjust speeds accordingly to arrive alive.

Regardless of how safely you are operating your motorcycle, accidents caused by other motorists can upset the tidy apple cart of your life. Don't let them get off the hook for your injuries and damages. Pursue civil justice to get the compensation you deserve.

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