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Are you a new motorcyclist?

Perhaps you have just turned the legal age and gotten into motorcycling. Or maybe it is something you have always wanted to do your entire life and finally have the bike of your dreams.

Whatever the case is, congratulations! Hopefully, many years of freedom and exhilaration await, and here are a few tips to help keep you safe:

Wear a helmet

Rhode Island requires that all new motorcyclists wear a helmet for the first year they are licensed. If you are 21 or younger, you must wear a helmet no matter what. Generally, though, it is just good practice to wear a helmet regardless of how much experience you have. For one thing, you never know what state(s) your adventures will land you in or what the helmet laws there could be. For another, a helmet could prevent a horrendous injury or save your life.

Take another safety course (or two)

Rhode Island is the only state that requires you to take a class to get your motorcyclist's license. Why stop there, though? The most vulnerable bikers are often the most inexperienced, and the state offers two free courses that go beyond what you learned in your first class. By the end of the classes, you should be able to handle curves, heavy traffic and more with extreme skill.

Stay sober

Alcohol is a factor in many motorcycle crashes, and in many ways, it is easier for intoxicated motorcyclists to hurt themselves than it is for intoxicated drivers to injure themselves. After all, car drivers have the shell of a car protecting them while a motorcyclist has basically nothing--sometimes, not even a helmet.

Know your weaknesses

It also helps to be frank with yourself and acknowledge any weaknesses you may have. For example, if you are an older rider, your body could be more fragile and more prone to injury if your motorcycle is heavier and rolls over you. A lighter motorcycle might be a better option.

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