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Why springtime motorcycle rides can be hazardous

One of the many benefits of living in Nevada is that motorcycling can be a year-round activity in most areas. However, if you’re heading up to the mountains for a spring ride, you are likely to encounter some remnants of the below-freezing temperatures and snowfalls of the winter that can leave some roads treacherous for bikers.

Potholes are prevalent in the spring. They develop when water expands and then contracts as it freezes. Some potholes may even still be covered by snow, leaves or debris so that they’re not even visible.

Road erosion can be a problem as well. Mountain roads often don’t get needed maintenance in the winter. Watch out for parts of the road, particularly along the edges, that may be crumbling.

Mountain roads may still have patches of salt, sand or other substances that have been spread to help melt snow or improve traction during the winter. These substances can be dangerous to ride over. Even if they don’t cause you to tip over or stop, they can go flying — obstructing your view.

If temperatures are still dipping below freezing overnight, you may come across puddles of melted ice. Black ice is even more dangerous because it’s such a thin layer that you don’t see it. Early morning riders need to be on the lookout for both ice and water.

Springtime brings more wild animals out as they forage for food for themselves and their babies. You’re likely to see them running on or near the road — particularly after dark. Remember that those wildlife crossing signs aren’t there for them. They may indicate where they’re most likely to cross, but wildlife will go anywhere they need to in order to find food — or get back home.

Finally, watch out for fellow motorcyclists and drivers. Many aren’t used to navigating mountain roads. They may not be aware of the hazards we’ve discussed here. Be careful to make sure that they can see you. Allow plenty of space between you and other cars or bikes.

If you are involved in a crash, don’t let a driver blame you if you weren’t at fault. Motorcyclists have gained a reputation for being reckless even though many are very conscientious about operating their bikes safely. If you’re injured in a crash, make sure you get the compensation you need to deal with medical bills and other expenses and damages.

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