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Sadie Says… Ready to get back on a motorcycle

Answers to frequently asked questions about older adult issues

Q: “It’s been years, but now that I’m retired, I’m ready to get back on a motorcycle and have some fun. Any suggestions before I take off?”

A: Be in the know before you go!

A lot has changed since your early riding years. There is more traffic, faster traffic, motorcycles are larger, heavier and more powerful and there are different risks when navigating in traffic with a motorcycle versus a car.

Also, take into consideration age-related changes that affect riding — delayed reaction time, altered balance, vision changes, decreased bone density and decreased muscle strength. Factor in medication and/or alcohol that compound the changes with age, and riding becomes riskier.

A recent Pennsylvania study found that trained riders reduced their likelihood of severe injury or death in a crash.

Be a safe rider; take an approved motorcycle safety course. Motorcycle safety courses are free for residents of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (pamsp) offers training to motorcycle drivers of all levels — new riders, semi-experienced, three-wheeled and advanced riders.

Some insurance companies offer discounts to riders who successfully complete the training.

For more information on the Motorcycle Safety Program and to enroll in a course, visit www.pamsp.com or call 1-800-845-9533.

Even if you stopped riding for the winter, your riding abilities are not the same as they were last fall. Consider yourself a beginner. Take time to practice and reacquaint yourself with your bike. It is equally important to always wear full protective gear whenever you ride.

— Sadie Says… is provided by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition

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