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Out for a motorcycle ride on a summer Saturday? Take extra care

If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, you've probably noticed that motorcycling is growing ever more popular in the U.S. West Virginia's roads are spectacular for riding, but that doesn't mean you don't have to drive carefully -- and there may be more issues to watch out for than usual.

"This winter was absolutely brutal on roadways across the country," comments the head of motorcycle products for Progressive Insurance, "so looking ahead for potholes and leaving plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you will help avoid accidents."

Considering the rapid growth in new motorcycle sales -- up 8 percent in the first quarter, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council -- Progressive decided to review its motorcycle claims data from last year to spot any useful trends. Unsurprisingly, summer is the peak time of the year for motorcycling -- and for motorcycle claims. You may be interested to know, however, that summer Saturdays were among the top claim dates.

Progressive took all motorcycle-related claims into account, including accidents and stolen property claims. All of those --yes, even stolen motorcycle claims -- were at their highest in July. In fact, if you took an average of all claims in the other 11 months, the number of July claims alone would top that by 78 percent.

Keep an eye on your bike and watch out for potholes

When Progressive's motorcycle products head mentioned potholes, he wasn't kidding. Hit at just the right moment, an uneven road surface can throw off even a veteran rider. In fact, the numbers from 2014 were extremely interesting in that the most prevalent type of motorcycle wreck was the single-vehicle accident.

"While many motorcycle accidents can involve other vehicles, most are single-vehicle incidents, which is something motorcycle riders should be aware of," said the Progressive spokesperson.

Bikers often -- correctly -- identify rear-end collisions and intersection accidents as widespread threats, those were only the second and third most common claims, with the fourth being theft claims. Single-vehicle crashes were more common in 2014 than the next three categories combined.

What it all comes down to is this: Even veteran riders need to be especially careful when navigating new roadways, and keep a constant eye out for road hazards. Let your adventurous spirit take you anywhere you want to go -- as long as you get there alive.

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