New Jersey motorcyclists are more vulnerable in a crash than motorists who drive a vehicle with a roof and doors.

The state’s Motor Vehicle Commission recommends that motorcycle riders drive defensively by utilizing the SIPDE system: scan, identify, predict, decide and execute.

Scan your surroundings

As you navigate roads on your motorcycle, you should scan and search for hazards in all directions. When you do this, you heighten your awareness of your surroundings and may gain reaction time.

Identify potential risks

Hazards may appear in the form of stationary objects like roadway signs, bridges, potholes and landscaping features.

Other vehicles on the roadway may make unpredictable moves that require you to react quickly. Most motorcycle-auto crashes take place at intersections. As you approach an intersection, note oncoming traffic that may turn left in front of you, and keep your attention on traffic approaching from all other directions.

Also be aware that pedestrians and animals may appear in front of your bike with little or no notice.

Predict the effect of hazards

Draw from your experience to predict whether a hazard is likely to cause a collision and, if so, whether the collision may result in serious damage or injury.  Weigh the consequences of any evasive action you may take.

Decide your reaction

Decide how to avoid a hazard by adjusting your speed and position. You should also communicate your intentions and position to other motorists. Your horn or lights may alert other motorists to the actions you intend to take. You may also adjust your speed or position to avoid a collision.

Execute your strategy

Ride within your ability. Use your riding skills to make split-second decisions.

When you use the SIPDE process to inform your judgments and actions, you may help protect yourself against dangers posed by negligent or distracted motorists or hazardous road conditions.