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Protective gear that every New Jersey motorcyclist should wear

Motorcycle crash statistics are frightening things. Nobody wants to become one. However, between 2009 and 2013, our state saw almost 13,000 accidents involving motorcycles.

Too often, the motorcyclist does not come out of the crash alive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people on a motorcycle are over 26 times more likely to die in a crash than those in a passenger vehicle.

Data specific to New Jersey shows that a significant majority -- 83 percent -- of motorcyclists involved in an accident in the 2009 to 2013 period suffered injuries. While motorcyclists are often unfairly perceived as being dangerous speed demons, in fact most of those injured in accidents are traveling under 30 mph.

Over two-thirds of motorcycle accidents occur because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the motorcyclist. New Jersey motorcyclists can take steps to make themselves be seen by other motorists. For example, stay out of other vehicles' "blind spots" and wear bright and even reflective clothing.

You can help reduce the severity of your injuries and increase your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident by wearing the proper equipment and clothing. This, of course, starts with an approved helmet.

New Jersey motorcyclists -- both drivers and passengers -- must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Further, the helmet must be the proper size for the wearer so that it fits securely. It must have a chin or neck strap, and both sides must be reflectorized. People not wearing helmets triple their chances of sustaining fatal head injuries compared to those not wearing a helmet.

There are a number of other things not required by law that safety experts advise motorcyclists to wear to help reduce injury. These include sturdy boots, well-fitting gloves that cover the entirety of the fingers, long-sleeved, abrasion-resistant jacket and pants and either goggles, glasses or a shield over their eyes.

Motorcyclists are often blamed for accidents with motor vehicles that are not their fault. Those who are injured while riding a motorcycle or who have lost a loved one to a motorcycle crash are wise to seek legal guidance to protect their rights. If a motor vehicle driver was at fault, you may be able to seek compensation to help with medical bills, lost wages and other damages such as pain and suffering.

Source: The State of New Jersey, Office of the Attorney General, "Motorcycle Safety Resources," accessed May. 05, 2015

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