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Motorcyclists emerge from winter hiatus in Iowa

Being a motorcyclist during warm months can be exciting; you have the wind on your body, get to experience the outdoors more closely and have more freedom on your vehicle. With this freedom comes some dangers, though, especially after a long winter hiatus.

As warm spring and summer months approach in Iowa, it's important for drivers to stay aware on the roads. Besides flash flooding, unpredictable weather and the potential for potholes, warm weather brings out those who love to ride their motorcycles.

Warmer times of year are dangerous to motorcyclists for a number of reasons. Road conditions aren't great yet, and there could be slush or rain that make it possible to skid or hydroplane. Those who haven't driven a motorcycle all winter could be rusty at first, too. All those things aside, one of the most dangerous things to look out for is distracted drivers who aren't expecting to see motorcyclists on the roads.

As warm weather makes an appearance, drivers need to be sure there are no motorcycles on the road before they turn into traffic. That means checking mirrors twice, turning to check blind spots and listening for oncoming traffic. Drivers need to be vigilant in making sure there is enough time to cross or pass a motorcyclist, too. Scientifically, motorcycles do travel faster than it looks like they do. When a driver sees a motorcyclist coming, that motorcyclist may be approaching faster than expected, so it's important to err on the side of caution. As a motorcyclist, beware of traffic, too; it's also your responsibility to be cautious, and if you're careful, you may be able to prevent an accident due to another person's error by being watchful.

Source: Lancaster Online, "Reminder: With warmer weather, watch out for motorcyclists" Ryan Robinson, Mar. 11, 2015

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