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Returning to motorcycles after years away? How to stay safe

It isn't unusual for people to pack their motorcycle away for a while (or sell it) when their family comes along. A motorcycle isn't exactly practical, after all, for hauling kids around. Plus, a lot of parents feel guilty taking on the extra risks of riding a motorcycle when their kids are young.

Well, your kids may be grown now, but they still need you around. Even if you've decided that it's time to take your old hobby back up, you want to be safe out there. While older bikers are less likely to be in an accident than younger drivers in the first place, they are three times more likely to be seriously hurt.

Why? Studies indicate that there are a number of factors involved:

-- You have to learn to ride again. You haven't forgotten how to ride, but your skills have gotten rusty, so take it easy until you get comfortable on your motorcycle again. Don't be in a rush to prove yourself.

-- Unless you've moved somewhere in the country, the traffic has likely gotten worse since you were younger. Congested traffic may not be something you used to have to deal with as often 20 or 30 years ago.

-- Your body is a little more fragile. Those aches and pains that come along with age are warning signals that tell you to be more careful. You may have arthritis without even knowing it, for example, which could make you prone to fractures more easily than someone 20 years your junior.

-- You need new gear and time to get used to it. A helmet may not have been required in California or wherever you were when you last rode -- but it is now. Use a Department of Transportation approved helmet and consider adding chest protection.

-- Consider lessons, especially if you've bought a new bike that has an anti-lock braking system or is bigger, faster and heavier than whatever you owned in the past. You may need the lessons just to help you get used to the way newer bikes feel and ride.

Whatever your age, it's important to be cautious out there on the road around larger vehicles. If you do get into an accident that isn't your fault, consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of a lawsuit to get fair compensation for your injuries.

Source: www.lazymotorbike.ew, "Tips to start riding again," accessed April 19, 2017

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