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Influx of new riders causes surge of motorcycle accidents

This time of year, everyone gets excited about the warm weather. People throughout Baton Rouge are confident that summer is finally here, and we have started preparing our bicycles and motorcycles for regular use.

Unfortunately, while motorcyclists are excited about riding again, few riders stop to remember the dangers of being back on the road. Drivers have spent all winter forgetting how to share the road with motorcyclists, and motorcyclists have spent all winter away from their bikes.

The result can be an increased number of motorcycle accidents. However, according to various statistics, there is a more prominent reason for the increased number of motorcycle accidents in early spring.

When the warm weather arrives, people who have never ridden before think spring is a good time to buy a motorcycle or learn how to drive. Unfortunately, the most dangerous time for motorcyclists is during their first year on the road, especially their first month of riding.

According to one study, motorcyclists are four times more likely to crash during their first 30 days on the road than they are during their entire second year of riding. And an insurance company has even more sobering statistics. The insurance company reported that 22 percent of motorcycle accident claims are filed within 30 days of an insurance policy being purchased. The claim rate dropped one-third in the second month and almost two-thirds after six months.

In some states, motorcycle riding courses have helped contribute to a decrease in accidents, but that is not true across the country.

Drivers and motorcyclists alike can help reduce the threat of motorcycle accidents by leaving plenty of space between vehicles and always being aware of the other vehicles on the road.

Source: The Republic, "Motorcycle crash risk drops sharply after the first month on the road," Michael Virtanen, Associated Press, April 15, 2012

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