There is no question that riding a motorcycle puts you at greater risk of bodily harm than other common forms of transportation, including riding in a car. Many of us accept that risk because we perceive motorcycling to be a pleasurable experience. Risk exposure can be divided into two areas, things we can control and things we can't control. It is my opinion the list of controllable risk factors is long and the latter is short. Riders can mitigate their risk exposure by paying close attention to the "things I can control list". Here is a quick example ranked in order of importance.
1. Wear a full face helmet
2. Wear full protective motorcycle specific riding gear with armor.
3. Take the motorcycle safety foundation beginner and advanced courses.
4. When possible choose routs with less traffic.
5. Comply with state inspection laws and stay up to date with your motorcycle maintenance schedule.
6. Choose a light, maneuverable, motorcycle with good brakes, to ride.
7. Don't ride at night.
8. Don't ride when you are tired.
9. Don't ride under the influence.
10. Obey traffic laws.
You get the idea, obviously the list could go on and on. There is no doubt that at times we all fudge on these safety issues, but with the understanding that we do so at a price. The list of things we can't control goes like this.
1. Behavior of other motorcycle riders and car drivers.
That's about it. If I were to think long and hard I might come up with a couple of others. The good news is paying attention to number 4 on the first list reduces problems connected to number 1 on the second list. Paying close attention to the first list 10 won't insure you don't get run over by the second list big number one, but it sure will improve you odds a bunch.
One more thing. Everyone has different safety priorities and I am sure others would add to my safety list and rearrange it as well. I have a friend who would put number 7 "Don't ride at night" at the top.