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There are no 'minor fender-benders' with motorcycles

When a passenger vehicle bumps the fender of another passenger vehicle in traffic or in a parking lot, it's usually summed up as nothing more than a "minor fender-bender." There may be a little property damage, but people are seldom seriously hurt.

The same is not true where motorcycles are concerned. If a car, truck or sports utility vehicle taps the back of your bike while you're riding, you can go careening out of control and into the pavement.

When you're on a motorcycle, there's nothing between you and the concrete except whatever leather you're wearing and a helmet -- and that's often not enough to prevent serious injuries. What might just be a minor inconvenience for the driver of a passenger car can turn fatal for the motorcyclist.

That's why experts recommend that motorcyclists be particularly wary about vehicles that are behind them in traffic, especially at stops. If you're a motorcyclist who is approaching a red light and there's a single car ahead of you, try to make eye contact with the driver, then pull ahead where you're both visible to that driver (who is now conscious of your presence) and protected from any other vehicles that might come up behind you. Alternately, try to get your bike between a line of vehicles, where you're protected from bumps from behind.

Even a low-speed motorcycle accident has the potential to be physically and economically devastating. Broken bones or a head injury could put you out of work for months. If you're involved in a motorcycle accident with a negligent driver, find out what you can do to hold them accountable for your losses.

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