Stay alert, watch for bikers

Warmer days and sunshine mean more people will be using their motorcycles. For some, it's about weekend trips. Others may be on the road more than 10,000 miles a year.

While it can be a fun hobby, riding motorcycles can be dangerous. A recent Southeast Missourian story cited 104 fatalities in Missouri during 2012 from motorcycle crashes. The first five months of 2013, according to Cpl. Clark Parrott of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, saw motorcycle-related deaths up 40 percent.

Much of the safety concern comes from distracted driving. It's imperative that bikers and other drivers on the roadways be alert. Even taking your attention off driving for a second can be disastrous. It's imperative that motorists be mindful of bikers on the road.

Here are a few safety tips, per Lt. John Davis of the Cape Girardeau Police Department, as reported in the story:

* Take a rider safety course.

* Ride denfensively.

* Take special note of intersections, alleys and driveways, and watch for vehicles that pull out.

* Wear a DOT-approved helmet.

* Wear protective clothing. This includes eyewear, gloves, long pants and sleeves and shoes.

* Wear reflective clothing when riding at night.

* Use the most conspicuous portion of driving lane.

And for drivers:

* Pay attention to surroundings.

* Remember that motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see.

* Don't use a cellphone when driving.

* Do not be distracted while driving.