Motorcycles have a reputation for risk and danger, but they don’t have to be dangerous. There are distinct things that you can do as a rider to reduce the risks you face. It goes beyond simply putting on a helmet and hoping for the best, however. You need to take an active role in the safety process.

To help, here are six key tips:

  1. Remember that safety courses have value for all riders. Extra training does not hurt, even if you have years of experience. Take a refresher every now and then.
  2. Never allow distractions to play a role in how you ride. Stay off of your cellphone. Don’t turn to talk to a passenger.
  3. Wear bright colors whenever you can. Black may be the most popular color for many cyclists, but it’s also the most dangerous because you blend into the road and other drivers don’t see you.
  4. Understand your limits and your abilities. There’s no shame in starting with a small bike on less busy roads if you’re new to riding.
  5. Stay far enough back from other vehicles. A lot of accidents happen when cars come to a sudden stop — the light turns yellow, for instance, and the driver slams the breaks instead of going through — and motorcycles crash into the back. Give yourself time to react.
  6. Stay attentive. Remember that drivers may not see you. Anticipate the mistakes they’re going to make.

These tips will help you. When you make safety a conscious choice, it benefits everyone. However, they do not guarantee that you won’t crash. If another driver hits you and leaves you with serious injuries, take a moment to look into your legal options.