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5 reasons motorcyclists are involved in serious accidents

You're a careful, long-time motorcycle rider. You go to festivals in New York. You ride up and down the coast all summer. You take your training and education seriously, you have plenty of experience, and you always follow the traffic laws.

Even so, you could be involved in a serious accident. All it takes is a split-second mistake by another driver to put you in the hospital. Below are five examples of problematic drivers to keep in mind the next time you hit the road.

1. Drivers who turn left.

In some ways, the most dangerous driver is the one who isn't even moving. He or she is just sitting still, waiting for a break in traffic to turn left. Too often, these drivers don't see motorcycles and cut right in front of them.

2. Parked drivers who open their doors.

If you're driving in the city -- or even a small town with parallel parking spaces -- watch those car doors. A lot of drivers pull into their spots and open their doors without checking. Even those who check may not see a bike, just looking for other cars. A collision with that open door can be deadly.

3. Lane changers.

Blind spots are deadly when drivers are changing lanes. A lot of them do it without using their turn signals, so you may have no warning. A bike fits easily into a blind spot -- some drivers can't even see other cars, so a vastly smaller bike just disappears. Others drivers don't bother to check. Either way, your ride can go from carefully cruising down the open road to getting sideswiped and crashing into the gravel.

4. Other bikers who drink.

You don't drink and drive, but other bikers might. This is especially problematic at festivals and other such events. One drunk rider in a group can cause a chain-reaction crash that sends everyone to the pavement. Be careful about whom you ride with. At the same time, when you're around a lot of other bikers, understand that you can't always pick who is on the road with you.

5. Drivers who don't stop in time.

One of the most helpless feelings, for a motorcycle rider, is sitting at a stoplight and watching that car come up in the mirror way too quickly. Drivers may be distracted, looking down at their phones as they try to slow down, or they may just not slow down fast enough. Bikers who stopped have nowhere to go to avoid a rear-end crash.

Injuries after a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic. You could spend weeks or months in the hospital and never ride again. If this happens to you, be sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.

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