The key to preventing accidents lies in understanding the risks – and taking proactive steps to reduce them. PennDOT’s “Live Free Ride Alive” program highlights several ways to stay safe on the road. Below are three key tips that every rider, whether a novice or expert, should follow.

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First, wear a helmet. While not all riders in Pennsylvania are legally required to wear a helmet, this one simple decision can make a life-or-death difference in an accident. PennDOT reports that one out of every five motorcycle accidents results in head or neck injuries. Helmets can cut your risk of a head injury in half for accidents involving speeds below 30 miles per hour. Overall, riders who wear helmets have a threefold greater chance of surviving head injuries. These statistics paint a clear picture of why even the most seasoned bikers should always wear helmets.

Second, don’t speed. Excessive speed is a factor in many accidents – especially those that result in serious or deadly injuries. Bikers who speed are three times more likely to get killed in an accident. Slower speeds give you more control. Additionally, avoiding an accident often requires making split-second decisions. By driving at a reasonable speed, you will have more time to make critical judgments.

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Third, take a motorcycle safety training course. These courses will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to protect yourself. Bikers who don’t participate in safety training are nearly 50 percent more likely to get seriously injured or killed in an accident. PennDOT offers free safety courses for Pennsylvania-licensed riders.

Not all motorcycle accidents are preventable. However, by doing everything in your power to ride safe, you can go a long way toward reducing your risk.

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