Before you take your next ride, think about these six tips.

When you think about a “cool” means of transportation, a minivan probably doesn’t pop into your head. A motorcycle, however, surely does. For several decades, movies and TV shows have depicted motorcycles as the vehicle choice of the coolest characters, whether it was James Dean, Fonzi, or even Ghost Rider.

And while motorcycles can be fine vehicles, they are also dangerous. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 5,000 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2015, which was up over 8 percent from 2014. In addition, 88,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents.

Because of our year-round great weather, it probably comes as no surprise that Florida has quite a few motorcyclists, second only to California for most in the U.S. With so many bikes being ridden daily, accidents are sure to happen. Whether you’ve been riding for years or you’re a newbie, these tips will help keep you safe:

Know what you can handle

Those huge bikes may be nice to look at, but that doesn’t mean you should ride one. Your bike has to fit you comfortably, which means it has to be controlled easily and can’t be too heavy. And if your feet can’t sit flat on the ground when you’re seated, the motorcycle is too big for you.

Get the right gear

While this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and pick up a black leather jacket, you do need to protect yourself. Pants and a top with sleeves are vital, no matter how hot it is. Gloves and goggles are also a good, protective idea. And you shouldn’t even think about getting on your bike without a helmet.

Plan ahead

Is there rain in the forecast? Perhaps you should take your car or find another way to travel. Wet roads are extremely hazardous to motorcyclists, and a driving rain can drastically reduce visibility, putting you and other motorists in additional danger.

Make sure to have a good mindset

You’d be amazed at how many car accidents are caused by a driver being angry, tired, or otherwise distracted. And while those may just result in fender-benders, even a minor crash could put a motorcyclist’s life in danger. Maintain a calm yet alert temperament while riding to stay safe.

Reconsider passengers

Riding with a passenger on your motorcycle is not at all like driving with one in a car. First of all, they need the same safety gear you wear. They also have to be involved and know what to do when taking curves or turning corners. If they just want a fun ride and will be a distraction, it’s not worth the risk.

Have the right insurance

You may already have car insurance, but you should know that it doesn’t cover your motorcycle and you’ll need a separate policy. If you don’t use your bike everyday, it may make financial sense to get a policy that lets you stipulate when exactly you ride.

Need a brand-new insurance policy for your bike or want to see if you can save money on your current rates? Contact Avante Insurance today.