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How safe are you when riding your motorcycle?

The weather in Southern California is so nice that motorcyclists can ride all year round. That's a huge plus, as riders in less temperate regions are typically putting their motorcycles up in the garage for the winter.

But perennially good weather doesn't mean that riders can ever be lax about riding safety. Even seasoned bikers can benefit from brushing up on their riding safety skills. Fortunately, the CHP California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) offers tips for riders at all skill levels. While its primary purpose is to keep motorcyclists safer on California roads, taking the motorcycle safety course might even allow you to save a few dollars on your auto insurance policy.

Regardless of your own riding skills, you still have to be very wary of motorists in four-wheeled (or more) vehicles. The fact is that many of these drivers don't even register the presence of motorcyclists on the streets and freeways. That unawareness can prove fatal to bikers.

There are ways to offset the dangers, though. Always riding with proper gear and a DOT-approved helmet is vital. You should also make sure that you are as visible as possible to drivers. If you plan to wear dark leather riding gear, add some neon strips on the back and front to make you stand out.

Some riders are proponents of the adage "loud pipes save lives." To a certain extent, that may be true. But pinning your life on rumbling motorcycle pipes is not sufficient to avert all collisions. The nearly soundproof design of today's vehicles means that the noise from a two-wheeler can be indiscernible for the motorist inside.

Should you get into a motorcycle accident with an at-fault driver, filing a claim for damages is the first step in recovering financial damages.

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