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Motorcycle safety advice may do more harm than good

Motorcycles are popular in Kentucky, and experienced bikers generally ride defensively and wear a helmet and protective clothing. They also tend to heed advice that has been followed by riders for almost as long as there have been motorcycles, but some tips may be making the roads more dangerous rather than safer.

"Loud pipes save lives" is a common safety refrain in motorcycling circles, but this assertion is not backed up by science. Motorcycle exhaust pipes face backwards, and the sounds they produce are unlikely to be heard by the oncoming traffic that represents the greatest threat to riders. Road safety experts agree that motorcyclists should focus their energies on being seen by other road users rather than being heard by them.

Laying a bike down when an accident seems unavoidable is another standard motorcycle safety tip, but this advice may be difficult or impossible to follow in the real world. Even accidents that occur at low speeds rarely give riders the time to weigh choices and take drastic evasive action, and choosing to lay their machines down would generally be a poor decision even if they had time to make it.

Motorcyclists are not protected by airbags and seat belts like passenger vehicle occupants, and they often suffer catastrophic accident injuries. When these injuries are caused by distracted, impaired or otherwise negligent motorists, personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies on their behalf. Attorneys may also initiate wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the surviving family members of motorcyclists who are killed due to the reckless actions of others. These lawsuits could seek compensation for expenses such as medical bills and property damage as well as lost income if the plaintiff was left temporarily or permanently unable to work.

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