Defensive riding is one of the most important things a motorcyclist in West Virginia can learn. The comprehensive Motorcycle Crash Causation Study by the Federal Highway Administration reveals that 63% of motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle, and 51% of crashes were attributed to the vehicle driver. In 70% of the crashes, a traffic scanning error on the part of the vehicle driver was a contributing factor. In 26%, the rider did not have the necessary control skills to avoid the crash.

So what can riders do to lower the risk of a crash? According to State Farm, taking motorcycle training courses is a good place to start. There are courses for riders at any level of experience.

Visibility is another key to avoiding a crash. Clothing, helmet and motorcycle should have reflective elements that will catch a motorist’s eye, and bright or contrasting colors stand out on the road. The motorcycle headlight should always be on, and the motorcyclist should always ride in the part of the lane that is most visible to drivers.

Even at their most visible, motorcyclists should not assume car drivers can see them. If a crash is unavoidable, safety gear can make a difference between life or death. A full-face helmet that has the Department of Transportation’s sticker of approval may be the most important in preventing serious or fatal injuries. However, gloves that include wrist guards, boots that cover the ankles, and clothing made of heavier materials can prevent serious fractures and road rash.