This might sound slightly over the top (it's really not at all), but when you ride on the street, you need to pretend everything and everyone is out to hit you. A lot of people aren't looking for motorcycles on the road. They'll see your car, but they might not necessarily see your bike, even if it's flaming metallic orange. We've all been irritated by those assholes who text or otherwise aren't paying attention. Keep in mind that what's irritating and possibly damaging to your car could total your bike, as well as seriously injure or kill you. The stakes are much higher when you ride. We're not trying to scare you off. You just need to accept that fact and do what you can to lessen your risk so you can keep riding long into the future.

You can't do anything about other people on the road, except maybe tell everyone you know to pay more attention to motorcycles when they're driving. What you can control is how you ride. Pay absolute attention before and at every single intersection. We're not just talking street corners. We also mean alleys, parking lots, drive-thrus, gas stations, anywhere a vehicle is going to try to enter moving traffic from a stand-still. Scan ahead with your eyes to note any possible traffic dangers in your way. Is there a lane merge up ahead? Construction? A utility truck doing some work? An accident? Does a cop have someone pulled over? All these possibilities may lead to someone who wasn't paying attention suddenly deciding that they have to merge into your lane RIGHTNOWRIGHTNOWRIGHTNOW without looking first. Just a second's inattention can mean someone sideswipes you because they didn't see you. By anticipating potentially dangerous situations up ahead, you'll be ready to move out of the way or brake as necessary.

Also, don't draft semis and don't ride in anyone's blind spot. Ride up ahead of them or far enough behind that if they suddenly switch lanes without signalling, you won't get hit. These are good rules of thumb to prevent being sideswiped. If you can see yourself in someone's mirror, they can most likely see you. (You know, as long as they're actually using their mirrors.)