Sunny days and more daylight means summer is here. For most motorcyclists, the summer season means more rides and opportunities for adventure or exploring. Before you hit the road on your next motorcycle trip, be sure that you have reviewed our tips for having a safe excursion during this busy season on the road.

Know the Facts and Statistics

Motorcycles are less stable and less visible than cars and often have high performance capabilities. When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re more likely to be injured or killed. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2014, the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 27 times the number in cars.

A total of 4,693 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2015. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008.  Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2015 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually.

You can find more facts and statistics at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Check Your Protection
First and foremost, be sure that your protective equipment is ready to go this season. If you have been riding in the fall, winter, or spring, you may find that the summer sun causes you to overheat in your cold weather protective gear. Summer may be warmer, but it isn’t the time to cut down on your protective equipment; instead, invest in warm weather gear that is made to keep you safe and cool.

Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.  Yet only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use by all riders. There is no motorcycle helmet use law in three states, including Illinois.

Check Your Bike
If you haven’t been on your bike in a few months, start your summer season with a trip to the mechanic for a tune up and comprehensive check. You should be sure that your bike is safe to ride, from the tires to the handlebars.