It's safety first, as the spring Harley rally gets underway

Watch out for motorcycles this week. The bikers are back for the 75th annual spring Harley Davidson rally.

South Carolina Highway Patrol is reminding drivers and riders to look twice and take care, motorcycles are everywhere.

Bikers will be pulling into traffic, traveling in groups and changing lanes all over the Grand Strand over the next ten days, and the riders know how dangerous the crowded roads can be.

"When you get into a lot of traffic, you get a little nervous," said Harley owner Billy Rowe of Murrells Inlet.

But most bikers also know the key to staying safe.

"Ride defensively," said Bobby Lumho of Ocean City, Maryland.

That's exactly what Highway Patrol recommends.

Troopers advise bikers to take safety into their own hands by:

-Checking traffic from right, left, rear and front before riding through an intersection..

-Keeping your motorcycle in the left part of the lane before passing.

-Scanning ahead for road hazards, and keeping an appropriate following distance.

"You stay far enough behind another rider or another car, so if there's a stop you have enough time to stop safely," Lumho said.

For drivers, Highway Patrol suggests:

-At intersections, watch out for motorcyclists who might be hidden by buildings or other vehicles.

-When passing, use your mirrors and head checks to make sure you can pass safely.

-Keep a safe following distance.

The riders know Harley Week is a time for everyone, drivers and bikers alike, to keep safety in mind.

"You have to ride for everybody. You can't ride for yourself, you have to watch what's going on all the way around you," said Rowe.

The Highway Patrol says two-thirds of car-motorcycle accidents are the car driver's fault because they don't yield the right-of-way.

At last year's Harley rally, there were numerous crashes involving motorcycles, but no deaths.