Educating yourself on motorcycle safety is a must, whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner. Always remember that motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than passenger cars and the injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes are usually severe. We strongly suggest that you read the following statistics:
- According to the motorcycle accident’s website, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than those in passenger cars.
- In 2006, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in highway accidents alone, while 4,810 motorcyclists were killed.
- 11 percent of all roadway accidents that occur in the United States involve motorcycles.
- Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.
- A motorcyclist not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury than one who wears a helmet.
- In 2007, a total of 7.1 million motorcycles were registered in the U.S.
- In 2005, the motorcycle fatality rate was 73 per 100,000 registered motorcycles; meanwhile, the passenger vehicle fatality rate in the same year was 14 per 100,000 registrations.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycles lack many of the safety features that cars have. For example, motorcycles are significantly smaller than other vehicles and other drivers often fail to see them on the road. The danger that other drivers pose, outweighs the fact that motorcycle drivers may be cautious or wearing protective clothing.
The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Usually, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is:
- going straight through an intersection
- passing the car, or
- trying to overtake the car.
Next, there is lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars, usually in traffic jams. Lane splitting is a common cause of motorcycle accidents due to several factors:
- the close proximity of the cars to the motorcycle
- the reduced space the motorcycle has to maneuver
- the fact that the cars don’t anticipate that any vehicle or motorcycle will be passing them in slowed or stopped traffic.
Even though motorcycles may not be the safest option, there are still steps you can take to make yourself safer. No matter what, always wear a helmet. Always be aware of your surroundings, the road conditions, and the weather. Also, avoid driving in blind spots of vehicles, and always wear protective clothing. Lastly, make sure to take motorcycle driving and safety classes to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself while on the road.