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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

After a brutal winter, it's finally spring in Connecticut and, along with the budding trees and flowers; motorcyclists are also emerging from their winter slumber. While many motorcycle owners are eager to jump on their bikes and hit the open road, it's important to ensure that a motorcycle is in proper working order and that an individual is equipped with the necessary safety gear. Additionally, it's wise to brush up on one's driving skills and to initially take things slow.

It's been a long winter for everyone and drivers of motor vehicles aren't used to seeing or sharing the road with motorcycles. The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and signals a time when many motorcyclists are planning their first trips out for the riding season. This time of year, it's especially important to focus on safety as both drivers of motor vehicles and motorcycles adjust to once again sharing the road with each other.

During 2013 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that "53 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes on Connecticut roads." Of these fatalities, nearly 50 percent of those individuals killed weren't wearing helmets.

While mandatory motorcycle helmet laws in Connecticut only apply to individuals age 18 and younger, regardless of age, everyone who rides on a motorcycle is advised to wear a helmet. A properly fitted and NHTSA-approved helmet should not impede a rider's vision or hearing.

In cases where a rider is involved in a crash and thrown from a motorcycle, helmets have been shown to protect riders from suffering serious and life-threatening traumatic brain injuries. In addition to wearing a helmet, motorcycle riders are also advised to wear other protective clothing made out of a material like leather, which is resistant to wind and heat. Boots are also a wise choice to protect against the heat from a motorcycle's engine as are glasses to protect one's eye from any road debris.

Source: NHTSA.gov, "May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month," May 12, 2015

The Bulletin, "Motorcycle crashes are sign of spring," John Barry, April 24, 2015

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